Decision support tools for environmentally conscious chemical process design /
Abstract (Summary)The environment has emerged as an important determinant of the performance of the modern chemical industry. Process engineering in the 21st century needs to evolve to include environmental issues as part of the design objectives, rather than as constraints on operations. A frequently cited objection to the use of quantitative indicators of environmental performance in product and process design is that the underlying data are too uncertain for the numbers to have any real meaning. This thesis demonstrates that explicit incorporation of uncertainties allows bounds to be established on the confidence of decisions made on the basis of uncertain indicators. The examples provided show that large uncertainties in indicators used to assess environmental performance do not necessarily imply uncertainty in decision-making. A series of computer-aided decision making tools have been developed to decrease the barriers to the use of environmental valuation functions in routine design activities. These tools include: uncertainty propagation of relative performance measures, a spreadsheet-based fate, transport and exposure model for chemicals, an information content chart for assessing the quality of uncertain indicators, a screening procedure to identify the most important structural and parametric uncertainties in multimedia exposure models.
School Location:USA - Massachusetts
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication: