4 November 2009 – presented by: Urmila Diwekar, Vishwamitra Research Institute Center for Uncertain Systems: Tools for Optimization & Management.
This talk presents a systems analysis perspective that extends the traditional design framework to green design, green energy and industrial ecology leading to sustainability. For green design this involves starting the design decisions as early as material selection stage on one end, and managing and planning decisions at the other end. However, uncertainties and multiple and conflicting objectives are inherent in such a design process. This leads to multi-objective optimization problems in the face of uncertainties. Uncertainties increase further in industrial ecology. The concept of overall sustainability goes beyond industrial ecology and brings in time dependent nature of the ecosystem and multi-disciplinary decision making. Optimal control methods and theories from financial literature can be useful in handling the time dependent uncertainties in this problem. Decision making at various stages starting from green design, green energy, to industrial ecology, and sustainability is illustrated for the mercury cycling. Power plant sector is a major source of mercury pollution. In order to circumvent the persistent, bioaccumulative effect of mercury, one has to take decisions at various levels of the cycle starting with greener power systems, industrial symbiosis through trading, and controlling the toxic methyl mercury formation in water bodies and accumulation in aquatic biota. Copy of the full announcement here