Detroit, MI 48201
The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to host the next Sustainability@Wayne Seminar on Tuesday, November 19 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Welcome Center Auditorium. Our guest speaker, Heriberto Cabezas, Ph.D., senior science advisor to the Sustainable Technology Division in the U.S. EPA's office of Research and Development, will present, "Design of Energy Supply Chains for Sustainability."The seminar is free and open to the entire campus community. A reception will follow immediately after Dr. Cabezas presentation.
A novel method has been proposed for designing supply chains for sustainability based on optimization combining the P-graph framework with integrated sustainability metrics and engineering cost. This is the product of a collaboration between the Office of Research and Development (ORD) of the U.S. EPA and the research group led by the founders of the P-graph framework at the University of Pannonia (see footnote). The result has been a powerful methodology for designing cost-effective and environmentally sustainable supply chains. We illustrate the methodology with a prototype supply chain designed to produce heat and electricity for a generic district in Hungary. This provides a basis for discussing the application of sustainability metrics to concrete engineering design problems such as supply chain design. For the particular supply chain in question, possible sources of heat and electricity included electricity from the Hungarian grid, and heat and electricity generated from natural gas, corn, corn silage, grass silage, or wood or some combination of these sources. Twenty-one different supply chains were found, each capable of producing 18 TJ per year of heat and 7.2 TJ per year of electricity. Each supply chain was ranked according to cost, and the ecological footprint (representing land use burden), and emergy (representing energy resource burden). Further, the scientific foundation of sustainability metrics is discussed and illustrated in terms of engineering thinking using the energy supply chain as a basis. In our study, feasible supply chains were found for heat and electricity generation, which were both cheaper and more sustainable than the normal supply chain currently in use. While the illustration focused on an energy supply chain, the method is applicable to any industrial supply chain. The use of integrated metrics such ecological footprint and emergy in the design of sustainable supply chains connects the demands of supply chain operations to the capacity of the supporting environment. This is important because the available land and energy resources that can support a supply chain are finite, i.e. the World is neither an infinite source nor an infinite sink.