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Synthesizing a Multi-Criteria Preference

Matrix for Decision Making on Adsorbent

Selection within an Industrial Ecology

Dpt. Industrial Management & Technology

University of Piraeus, Greece
Scope of the work
 This work deals with the problem of synthesizing a
multi-criteria preference matrix for decision making
on adsorbent selection within an Industrial Ecology
 Initially, an optimization procedure is presented,
based on adsorbent production cost minimization as
a function of temperature.
 Since this procedure is inadequate to solve the
problem when more independent/control variables
are considered in combination with adsorbate
dynamics under uncertainty, we designed/
developed a methodological flow chart, including 23
activity stages and 5 decision nodes, as an empty
shell of an expert system capable to cope with the
relevant practical difficulties.
Scope of the work
 The implementation of certain stages is also
presented, concerning water pollution by an oil spill,
where the roles of temperature and weathering are
 The operating cost for producing the novel
adsorbent is further examined as a function of the
energy source used, keeping the Industrial Ecology
Framework as a reference domain.
 Finally, a new subsidizing scheme is presented for
enhancing stability of optimal values of independent/
control variables over time and space.
 Novel adsorbents can be produced from industrial/
agricultural waste, possibly serving an environmental
protection plan in both ways: by recycling a byproduct/
residue and by using the recycled product to minimize
another water stream through adsorption.
 Nevertheless, the introduction of the novel adsorbent
in the pollution abatement system may demand certain
prerequisites in order to ensure successful application
and contribution to sustainable development.
 These prerequisites are frequently referring to energy
and capital cost either as conflict dependant variables
or as independent control variables/parameters to be

 We can prove this claim by considering the

determination of optimal temperature Topt in
the production of a novel adsorbent
 by minimizing total cost C(T)=C1(T)+C2(T),
 where C1(T) is the process operating cost
(including energy consumption and
maintenance) and
 C2(T) is the system’s capital cost.
Marginal Cost M
Dependence of process operating cost and system’s capital partial
costs, C1 and C2, respectively on the adsorbent production
temperature, T, and shifting of Topt in the (a) short and (b) long run, MC2'
when introducing a more expensive novel adsorbent
Topt T' opthaving higher

efficiency and/or environmental friendliness. Production temperature T

(a) (b)
C1+C'2 C1+C2
C1+C2 C1+C'2

Cost C
Cost C

C'2 C2
C2 C'2
T'' opt Topt
Topt T' opt

Marginal Cost MC
Marginal Cost MC

MC2' MC2
MC2 MC'2
Topt T' opt

Production temperature T T'' opt Topt Production temperature T

 The optimization procedure described above
coincides with cost minimization by
considering only one independent variable
and a unique industrial process for producing
the adsorbent.
 In practice, there are several independent
variables, possibly categorized/homogenized
or merged/integrated in groups, while the
adsorbate may change itself, especially in the
case it is a pollutant under diffusion/
dispersion in heterogeneous environment.
 Such an example is a complex contaminant (like
hydrocarbons coming from oil spill in seawater)
adsorption in aquatic environment, where the
adsorbate constituents change significantly in the
time course, due to
 (i) weathering, which is a combination of natural
processes, like coagulation, sedimentation,
evaporation, chemical reaction, complexation,
dilution, flotation, photodegradation, and
 (ii) diversification because of human intervention,
like the addition of either a dispersant/detergent
or/and nutrients/fertilizers to enhance the
microbial population growth for achieving higher
rate of bioremediation.
start 22 23
Methodology 1 16 C

For solving the problem mentioned yes

above, we have designed/developed 2
a methodology, under the form of an 3 14
algorithmic procedure, including 23 no

activity stages and 5 decision nodes. 4

B no
yes D
Core stages: 5
Stage 1: Determination of adsorbate 6 19
harmful constituents by means of 12
surface ontological mapping. 7 20
Stage 7: Estimation of adsorbate 8 no
dynamics through equilibrium and 10
kinetic data/models of the yes
constituents 9 21
yes end
Stage 22: Development/operation/
updating of an internal Knowledge decision node
activity stage
Base (KB) executive line
initiation / termination information line
Implementation: oil spill
water contamination
contamination at source Stage 1: semantic operator 
contamination at storing/ (denoting depend(s) on)
oil origin processing/transportation
physical characteristics
dynamic ontological mapping of
source hydrogeochemistry adsorbate constituents in water
contaminated by oil spill.
natural evapotranspiration
weathering temperature waves
hydrocarbon oxidation
diffusion through the wind
liquid/gas interface current
adsorbate bacteria species transfer by turbulence irregular flow
temperature rate of photosynthesis
rate of growth
oxygen availability consumption by system's sinks
microbial nutrients availability natural occurence
population waste discharge
bacteria prior exposure intended addition
consortium microclimatic conditions

required quantity estimation/application

quality available
method of application preferred as NEEC
Implementation: oil spill
water contamination
Oil spill constituent With disp. Without disp.
Heptadecane 100-67.67 100-67.42
Pristane 48.01-36.77 35.38-26.73
Octadecane 76.92-57.89 70.99-53.17
Phytane 40.94-33.91 29.63-24.28
Triacontane 17.02-15.96 8.76-8.09
Naphthalene 77.44-78.2 66.85-67.51 Stage 7: The normalized k-
C1-naphthalenes 94.31-80.9 84.15-72.03 values of characteristic oil
C2-naphthalenes 96.59-78.98 90.97-74.21 spill constituents in the form
C3-naphthalenes 88.63-76.45 88.54-76.26 of interval numbers,
C4-naphthalenes 78.08-77.56 74.22-73.72 depicting the adsorbate
Fluorene 45.46-68.79 39.39-60.21
Phenanthrene 60.56-73.56 53.38-65.08
1-Methyl-phenanthrene 52.72-70.34 46.97-63.04
2-Methyl-phenanthrene 48.95-69.46 43.81-62.61
3-Methyl-phenanthrene 45.93-68.1 41.27-61.72
9-Methylphenanthrene 51.18-66.48 37.29-48.92
C2-phenanthrenes 12.69-12.54 16.75-16.57
C3-phenanthrenes 3.41-3.82 4.33-4.85
 The operating cost for producing the novel
adsorbent is heavily depended on the kind of
energy source used.
 If this source is a fossil fuel, implying environmental
deterioration (usually expressed as a surcharge on
energy price paid by the consumer), the C1-curve is
pushed upwards to its new position C1΄ becoming
steeper, since the environmental deterioration is
frequently a non-linear function of the amount/
concentration of the polluting species coming from
fossil fuel use for the same temperature (the
abscissa herein).
 On the other hand, if a ‘clean’ renewable energy
source (RES) is used, implying substantial
contribution to environmental preservation and cost
reduction, the C1-curve is pushed downwards to its
new position C1΄΄ becoming more flat, since large
deviation from the original position should be
expected in the region of higher T-values, where
there are significant margins for improvement.
 As a matter of fact, there is a tradeoff between the
diffusion of RES and materials science/technology
applications with an equilibrium point changing over
time and space, since RES may prevail globally and
novel materials locally, according to special needs
and the opportunities given by the Industrial Ecology
networks established by intention or spontaneously.
C' 1+C2
C' 1
Cost, C



Production temperature T
T'opt Topt

Shifting of Topt when
C1 (a) a fossil fuel is used
C'' 1+C2
as an energy source,
Cost, C

C'' 1
and (b) RES are used
for producing the
Production temperature T
novel adsorbent.
Topt T'' opt
 At any case, likewise the corresponding analysis presented in
the Introduction section, we can minimize Topt shifting (i.e.,
maximize stability) by subsidizing the R&D investment on
RES provided that refunding will take place enough after
surpassing the breakeven point when gains are expected to
increase significantly.
 The expression we have developed for calculating the amount
M of refunding is the following:
t  m 1
 1 i 
  1
M 
1  i m 1  j t m 1 j 
tm  1 i 
   1
1 j 
 where I is the optimal subsidy expressed as a fraction of capital S invested
initially in the project, q is the refunding fraction of (IS), t is the
dimensionless number of time periods taken into account as the investment
useful life, m is the number of time periods elapsed from starting the project
up to the start of refunding, i is the common interest rate (used also for
determining equivalence of money over time), j is the return on refunding
used to estimate money value at the end of the m time periods.
 In conclusion, we have proved (through case
examples) the functionality of the methodology
presented herein for synthesis/selection of criteria to
be used in decision making on adsorbent selection.
 The backbone of the proposed algorithmic
procedure is dynamic ontological mapping of
adsorbate and this is illustrated by estimating
normalized values for the adsorption rate constants
of the constituents of an oil spill in aquatic
 It is indicated that independent control variables, like
temperature in the production of adsorbent from
waste, can be merged to form an integrated
criterion like energy cost and, vice versa, operating
cost can be decomposed to partial costs depended
on the different kinds of energy sources used.
 The mixing of technical with economic criteria may
lead to stabilizing optimal values of the independent
variables, on condition that refund policy can apply
on a quantified basis, like the one presented herein.
This work is part of a research project co-
financed by the European Union (European
Social Fund - ESF) and Greek national
funds through the Operational Program
"Education and Lifelong Learning" of the
National Strategic Reference Framework
(NSRF) - Research Funding Program:
Thank you
for your attention