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Title: Integrated Mechanistic Engineering Models and Macroeconomic Input-Output approach to Model Physical Economy for Evaluating the Impact of transition to Circular Economy
Sustainable transition to low carbon and zero waste economy requires a macroscopic evaluation of opportunities and impact of adopting emerging technologies in a region. However, a full assessment of current physical flows and wastes is a tedious task, thus leading to lack of comprehensive assessment before scale up and adoption of emerging technologies. Utilizing the mechanistic models developed for engineering and biological systems with macroeconomic framework of Input-Output models, we propose a novel integrated approach to fully map the physical economy, that automates the process of mapping industrial flows and wastes in a region. The approach is demonstrated by mapping the agro-based physical economy of the state of Illinois, USA by using mechanistic models for 10 sectors, which have high impact on waste generation. Each model mechanistically simulates the material transformation processes in the economic sector and provides the material flow information for mapping. The model for physical economy developed in the form of a Physical Input-Output Table (PIOT) captures the interindustry physical interactions in the region and waste flows, thus providing insights into the opportunities to implement circular economy strategies i.e., adoption of recycling technologies at large scale. In Illinois, adoption of technologies for industrial waste-water & hog manure more » recycling will have the highest impact by reducing > 62 % of hog industry waste, > 99 % of soybean hull waste, and > 96 % of dry corn milling (corn ethanol production) waste reduction. Small % reduction in fertilizer manufacturing waste was also observed. The physical economy model revealed that Urea sector had the highest material use of 5.52E+08 tons and green bean farming with lowest material use of 1.30E+05 tons for the year modeled (2018). The mechanistic modeling also allowed to capture elemental flows across the physical economy with Urea sector using 8.25E+07 tons of carbon per operation-year (highest) and bean farming using 3.90E+04 tons of elemental carbon per operation-year (least). The approach proposed here establishes a connection between engineering and physical economy modeling community for standardizing the mapping of physical economy that can provide insights for successfully transitioning to a low carbon and zero waste circular economy. « less
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Energy & Environmental Science
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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