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Data estimation and reconciliation methods for material flow analysis

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Although material flow analysis (MFA) is accepted for the analysis of the transformation of materials from source to final service to sink, formalised procedures for organising data so that results can be standardised and compared are needed. Furthermore, in cases where data either does not exist or conflicts with other sources, existing methods of data estimation and reconciliation are not sufficient for large problems with many unknown variables. This talk presents (1) a standard way of classifying data forms, based on the Sankey diagram concept, for use in material flow analyses; and (2) a method based on nonlinear optimisation for analytically determining solutions to MFA problems where data is scarce or in conflict. This method is demonstrated by extending Cullen, Allwood, and Bambach’s analysis of global steel flows, and the resulting analytical solution quantitatively improves upon their manual solution, while facilitating the construction and comparison of the material flow analysis data set for global steel production and use.

This talk is part of the Hopkinson Seminars series.

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