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Journal Paper Accepted: Opportunities for energy-water nexus management in the Middle East and North Africa

by Brian Keare

We are happy to announce that our paper “Opportunities for Energy-Water Nexus management in the Middle East and North Africa”, has been accepted for publication by the academic journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. This study was the result of collaboration between William N. Lubega (Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Prof. Amro M. Farid and William W. Hickman (Dartmouth).

Electric power is required to produce, treat, distribute, and recycle water while water is required to generate and consume electricity. Naturally, this energy-water nexus is most evident in multi-utilities that provide electricity and water but still exists when the nexus has distinct organizations as owners and operators. Therefore, the sustainability question that arises from energy-water trade-offs and synergies is very much tied to the potential for economies of scope.

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Furthermore, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, multi-utilities are not only common, but also the nexus is particularly exacerbated by the high energy intensity of the water supply due to limited fresh water resources. Several accelerating trends are increasingly stressing the existing supply systems of MENA countries: Increased demand due to population and economic growth, a more extreme and unpredictable climate mostly affecting water supply and power demand, and multiple drivers for more electricity-intensive water and more water-intensive electricity including aging infrastructure and certain regulations and standards. This paper identifies and motivates several opportunities for enhanced integrated operations management and planning in the energy-water nexus in multi-utilities in the MENA.

From the discussion of the coupling points between the energy and water systems and operations management strategies to optimize these coupling points, several policy implementations can be drawn. First, the existing approaches to dispatch of the individual products of power and water could be replaced by integrated energy-water dispatch. Second, existing fixed power and water purchase agreements can be replaced with a seamlessly integrated energy-water dispatch. As in liberalized power systems, multiple time horizon markets with their respective clearing mechanisms would be required so as to provide dynamic incentives for greater cost and resource efficiency.  Fourth, the energy-water nexus also presents coupling points that engage the demand side of both power and water. Carefully designed demand-side management schemes, perhaps in the form of public-private partnerships, could present a vehicle for coordinating these coupling points in a cost-effective fashion.

The report also leads to several central policy implications. First, if water consumption and withdrawal of power generation were monetized, the investment case for renewable energy would inevitably be a stronger one. Next, while reverse osmosis desalination plants limit the energy-intensity of water production, from an integrated systems perspective, multi-stage flash plants provide a coproduction functionality that may be preferred over individual reverse osmosis and power generation facilities. Third, while many water utilities across the region have made extensive efforts towards reducing water leakages, such efforts could be strengthened by considering the embedded energy and the associated economic and environmental cost of these leakages. Lastly, there exists both a necessity and opportunity to reduce the energy footprint of water supply in MENA countries through increased water recycling. Utilizing a decentralized treatment system providing multiple water qualities and treatment levels will allow more opportunities for recycled water use in industry, agriculture, and other areas.

In all, the integrated energy-water nexus planning models and optimization programs presented and cited in this work provide deeper perspectives than their single product alternatives found in the existing literature. Their application in the policy domain has a high potential for future work and extension in the MENA region. Furthermore, these techniques have the potential for use in regions of similar climate (e.g. South-West United States & Australia) or other electricity-water utilities around the globe.

In depth materials on LIINES energy-water nexus research can be found on the LIINES websitte.

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Journal Paper Accepted: Symmetrica: Test Case for Tansportation Electrification Research

by Thomas van der Wardt

The LIINES is happy to announce that our recent paper entitled: “Symmetrica: Test Case for Tansportation Electrification Research” has been published in the journal Infrastructure Complexity. Written by Prof. Amro M. Farid, this paper presents a test case for electric vehicle integration studies.

Electrified transportation has emerged in recent years as a means to reduce CO2 emissions and support energy efficiency. For this trend to succeed in the long term, electric vehicles must be integrated into the infrastructure systems that support them. Electric vehicles couple two such large systems; the transportation system and the electric power system into a nexus.

Electric vehicle integration, much like solar PV and wind integration years ago, has been fairly confined to small fleets of tens of vehicles. Such small pilot projects do not present a significant technical challenge. Their large scale adoption, however, must be carefully studied to avoid degrading overall infrastructure performance. Transportation electrification test cases serve to study infrastructure behavior well before reaching a full deployment of electric vehicles. Such a test case would resemble those often used in power systems engineering to serve methodological development in the design, planning, and operation of such systems.

The arguments for a test case to study the transportation electricity nexus are five-fold. First, a standardized test case is required to test, and compare analytical methods. In power systems, test cases served an essential role in the maturation of power flow analysis, stability studies, and contingency analysis. The transportation-electricity nexus will ultimately also require similar assessments. Secondly, using real data from critical infrastructure may be imprudent. For example, real data may reveal weak points in a power system which may be exploited by unauthorized personnel. Thirdly, a test case serves to support fundamental understanding by broadening intuition development. For the transportation-electricity nexus, understanding the effect of increasingly interdependent dynamics, will result in new requirements for optimization and control for its planning and operation. Naturally, this new found intuition serves the fourth reason of methodological development. A test case serves facilitates the design, planning, and operation of the system before it is built. Unexpected behaviors may be identified in an early stage and can subsequently be avoided or mitigated. Finally, the privacy of personal data is protected through using a test case. Transportation simulation requires microscopic data (tracking each vehicle through a full day’s events), which raises grave privacy and ethical concerns if real data is used.

To address these needs, the proposed test case includes three structural descriptions: a transportation system topology, an electric power topology, and a charging system topology. Additional data includes transportation demand and charging demand. The test case consists of a number of desirable characteristics, including completeness, functional heterogeneity, moderate size, regular topology, regular demand data, realism, and objectivity. The figure below shows the three topologies; a fully detailed description test casenamed ‘Symmetrica’ is available in the paper.

symmetricae

The transportation electrification test case can potentially be used for research within planning and operation management applications. A recent study (Al Junaibi et al. 2013) showed that the planning of the charging system as the couple of two infrastructure systems highly impacts the overall performance of the transportation electrification nexus. Matching the spatial layout of charging infrastructure to the demand for electrified transportation is key a infrastructure developent challenge. Furthermore, investment costs to upgrade power lines and transformers must be matched to the expected adoption of electric vehicles, providing an interesting starting point for return-on-investment and operations research methods. Using operation management applications such as charging station queue management or vehicle-2-grid stabilization could optimize the integration of electric vehicles within the nexus. Opportunities such as these present rich applications areas which have the potential to significant reduce the extra expenditure in infrastructure investments.

In depth materials on LIINES electrified transportation systems research can be found on the LIINES websitte.

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Prof. Amro M. Farid contributes to World Wind Energy Association Report

The World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) technical committee has recently published a report entitled “Wind Energy 2050: On the shape of near 100% RE grid”, which studies the challenges of wind energy integration into the power grid and discusses some of the solutions to address these challenges. Chapters 5 and 6 of this report are based upon the work of Dr. Amro M. Farid and discuss the evolution the power grid as it accommodates increasing capacities of wind energy.

Wind and solar energy have already become mainstream energy sources in some regions of the world. While the integration of wind energy has numerous benefits, it also creates new challenges for power system operations. Wind energy is inherently variable and, in order to successfully accommodate it, the power system has to undergo a dramatic change.   Furthermore, and in contrast to the traditional thermal generation units, wind energy sources are non-dispatchable in the traditional sense, meaning their outputs cannot be set to the desired value. As a result, the integration of wind energy requires new approaches to power grid planning and management, including investments into improved wind forecasting techniques and reconsidering operating reserve requirements.

A conventional power system consists of relatively few centralized and dispatchable generation units, and a large number of distributed and stochastic (but accurately forecastable) loads. The electricity is delivered from the centralized and predominantly thermal power plants to the distributed electrical loads. During many decades of operations, power system operators and utilities have developed improved methods for performing their tasks. Generation scheduling and dispatch, reserve management and control technologies have matured. Load forecasting accuracy has improved significantly, reducing forecast errors to as low as a few percent. Power system security and reliability standards have also evolved accordingly.

Six key drivers currently govern the evolution of the grid, namely environment protection, reliability concerns, renewable energy integration, transportation electrification, consumer participation and power market deregulation. This evolution will lead to a diversification of the power grid energy portfolio to include more solar, wind, energy storage and demand-side resources. Thus, the newly emerging operation procedures will not only engage with generators but also with consumers and other ancillary units. As a result, the already existing control technologies and procedures will expand significantly in both number and type.  This will challenge the basic assumptions of power system design and operations. Therefore, the question is not how to mitigate wind variability, but rather how the power grid should evolve to successfully accommodate a high penetration of wind energy.

Governed by these drivers, power system generation and consumption will evolve towards more equal roles in grid operations.  First, from the perspective of dispatchability, wind energy sources resemble traditional consumption in that they are non-dispatchable and forecasted. On the other hand, the introduction of demand response creates makes some portion of the energy consumption dispatchable much like traditional power generation facilities. These two trends change the balance of dispatchability and forecastability as shown in Table 1. Second, the integration of wind energy, like most renewable energy sources, changes the spatial distribution of the generation. Wind energy sources can vary from several kWs to hundreds of MWs.  While larger facilities will continue to be installed centrally into the transmission system, the smaller facilities will be installed at the power grid periphery as distributed generation.  (See Figure 2).  This creates the potential for upstream flow in the distribution system, which was not generally allowed before, and requires the redesign of the protection system accordingly.

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Table 1: Future grid generation and demand portfolio

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Figure 2: Graphic representation of the evolving power grid structure

While many power grid phenomena overlap, the literature has traditionally treated them strictly separately. The evolution of the power grid necessitates reconsidering the distinction between  timescales.   It also requires revisiting the distinction between the transmission and distribution systems. In advocating for power grid enterprise control, our work encourages holistic approaches that work across time scales as well as the fully supply chain of electricity including both the transmission as well as the distribution system.

This work also moves away from the traditional classification of technical and economic control objectives and utilizes the concept of integrated enterprise control as a strategy for enabling holistic techno-economic performance of wind integration. As shown in Figure 3, the power system is modeled as a cyber-physical system, where the physical integration of wind energy and demand-side resources must be assessed in the context of the control, automation, and information technologies. The horizontal axis represents the energy value chain from the generation to the consumption. Finally, the third axis classifies both the generation and the consumption into dispatchable as well as stochastic units. This graph represents the scope of the power system that must address a complex mix of technological, system and societal objectives.

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Figure 3: Electrical power grid as a cyber-physical system

This work also moves away from the traditional classification of technical and economic control objectives and utilizes the concept of integrated enterprise control as a strategy for enabling holistic techno-economic performance of wind integration. As shown in Figure 3, the power system is modeled as a cyber-physical system, where the physical integration of wind energy and demand-side resources must be assessed in the context of the control, automation, and information technologies. The horizontal axis represents the energy value chain from the generation to the consumption. Finally, the third axis classifies both the generation and the consumption into dispatchable as well as stochastic units. This graph represents the scope of the power system that must address a complex mix of technological, system and societal objectives.

In depth materials on LIINES smart power grid research can be found on the LIINES website.

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Prof. Amro M. Farid joins the University of Massachusetts Transportation Center as an affiliated Researcher

We are happy to announce that Prof. Amro M. Farid has joined the University of Massachusetts Transportation Center (UMTC) as an affiliated researcher.  The announcement can be found as a blog post here.  By entering the UMTC affiliated researcher network, the LIINES and UMTC will be able to more closely collaborate on interesting transportation research.  Naturally, some of these areas include transportation electrification, intelligent transportation systems, and connected & automated vehicles.
The University of Massachusetts Transportation Center (UMTC) is located at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, 214 Marston Hall. The UMTC conducts research on all aspects of Transportation including Travel Behavior, Transportation Modeling, Sustainability, Freight, Transit, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Optimization, Transportation Finance and Policy, Emission Estimation and Modeling, Commercial Motor Vehicle research, Safety, Human Factors, GIS, Climate Change and Economic Development.
The UMTC is funded in part by the MassDOT, New England Transportation Consortium and National UTC Consortiums.
In depth materials on LIINES electrified transportation systems research can be found on the LIINES website.
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Prof. Amro M. Farid gives invited lecture at ITE 2016 Northeastern Annual Meeting

On May 11, 2016, Prof. Amro M. Farid gave an invited lecture at the Institute for Transportation Engineers 2016 Northeastern Annual Meeting held in Portsmouth, NH.  The presentation entitled:  “Intelligent Transportation-Energy Systems for Massively Electrified Transportation Infrastructure” featured many of the LIINES’ research on electrified transportation systems.

The presentation advocated the concept of “Intelligent Transportation Energy Systems” which has been the subject of several recent blogposts.  (See here, here, and here).  Electrified modes of transportation: vehicles, buses and trains fundamentally couple the transportation and power grids.   This coupling presents new challenges in the operation of each system which would not have existed if each was operated independently.  At its core, the ITES requires a new transportation electrification assessment methodology that draws upon microscopic traffic simulation, power grid dynamics, and Big Data-Driven use case modeling.  Such an ITES would come to include coupled operations management decisions including:  vehicle dispatching, charging queue management, coordinated charging, and vehicle-to-grid ancillary services.   The presentation concludes with simulation results from the first full scale electric vehicle integration study which was recently conducted for a taxi-fleet use case in Abu Dhabi.

In depth materials on LIINES electrified transportation system research can be found on the LIINES website.

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Prof. Amro M. Farid gives invited lecture at UVIG

On April 27th, 2016, Prof. Amro M. Farid gave an invited lecture at the Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group (UVIG) Spring Technical Workshop held in Sacramento, CA.  The presentation entitled:  “Enterprise Control as a Holistic Assessment Method for Variable Generation & Demand Response Integration” featured many of the LIINES’ research on renewable energy integration assessment methodologies.

The presentation advocated the concept of “Power Grid Enterprise Control” which has been the subject of several recent blogposts.  (See here and here).  Traditionally, power system operation & control methods are conducted individually.  In contrast, “Power Grid Enterprise Control” integrates these methods into a single simulation of how a power system enterprise behaves as a physical power grid tied to multiple layers of control, optimization and market behavior.  Such an integrated approach provides techno-economic performance results of the power grid.  Furthermore, it highlights trade-off decisions between technical reliability and cost performance.  The presentation showed how enterprise control simulation can be used to study renewable energy, energy storage, and demand-side energy resources.

In depth materials on LIINES smart grid research can be found on the LIINES website.

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Journal Paper accepted at IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics – An Axiomatic Design of a Multi-Agent Reconfigurable Mechatronic System Architecture

The LIINES is pleased to announce the acceptance of the paper “An Axiomatic Design of a Multi-Agent Reconfigurable Mechatronic System Architecture” to the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics. The paper is authored by Prof. Amro M. Farid and Prof. Luis Ribeiro.

Recent trends in manufacturing require production facilities to produce a wide variety of products with an increasingly shorter product lifecycle. These trends force production facilities to adjust and redesign production lines on a more regular basis.

Reconfigurable manufacturing systems are designed for rapid change in structure; in both hardware and software components to address the required changes in production capacity and functionality.

Qualitative methods have recently been successful in achieving reconfigurability through multi-agent systems (MAS). However, their implementation remains limited, as an unambiguous quantitative reference architecture for reconfigurability has not yet been developed.

A design methodology based on quantitative reconfigurability measurement would facilitate a logical, and seamless transition between the five stages of the MAS design methodology, as shown below.

DesMethodology

Previous work on the reconfigurability of automated manufacturing systems has shown that reconfigurability depends primarily on architectural decisions made in stages 1, 2, 3, and 5. Operational performance of the manufacturing system after the reconfiguration is also important, but is often overlooked by the existing literature. As a result, it’s not clear:

  1. The degree to which existing designs have achieved their intended level of reconfigurability.
  2. Which systems are quantitatively more reconfigurable.
  3. How these designs may overcome their inherent design limitations to achieve greater reconfigurability in subsequent design iterations.

In order to address the previously mentioned issues with existing design methodologies, this paper develops a multi-agent system reference architecture for reconfigurable manufacturing systems driven by a quantitative and formal design approach, directly in line with the above Figure.

The paper uses Axiomatic Design for Large Flexible Engineering Systems to support a well-conceptualized architecture, which is necessary for excellent production system performance. Additionally, Axiomatic Design highlights potential design flaws at an early conceptual stage. This results in the first formal and quantitative reference architecture based on rigorous mathematics.

About the Author

Wester C.H. Schoonenberg completed his B.Sc. in Systems Engineering and Policy Analysis Management at Delft University of Technology in 2014. After his bachelors’ degree, Wester started his graduate work for the LIINES at Masdar Institute, which he continues as a doctoral student at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in 2015. Currently, Wester is working on the integrated operation of electrical grids and production systems with a special interest in Zero Carbon Emission Manufacturing Systems.

A full reference list of LIINES publications can be found here:
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Journal Paper Accepted at Journal of Enterprise Transformation – Axiomatic Design Based Human Resources Management for the Enterprise Transformation of the Abu Dhabi Healthcare Labor Pool

The LIINES is happy to announce the publication of the paper entitled: “Axiomatic Design Based Human Resources Management for the Enterprise Transformation of the Abu Dhabi Healthcare Labor Pool” to the Journal of Enterprise Transformation.  The paper is authored by Prof. Inas Khayal and Prof. Amro M. Farid.  To our knowledge, it’s the first regional-scale multi-decade Big Data Healthcare Human Resources Management Study ever conducted and shows the spatial-distribution of retention and attrition rates of the Abu Dhabi Healthcare System in recent decades.
The quality and reliability of a nation’s healthcare system is often driven by the number and diversity of its healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, many developing nations have constrained segments of highly skilled labor and must “import” this human capital. Volatility in key healthcare professions can threaten reliable and sustainable healthcare delivery.
This article considers the development of a healthcare human resources sector in a quickly developing nation as an enterprise transformation problem. In this article, the axiomatic design large flexible system modeling framework is used to assess healthcare delivery capability in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The Abu Dhabi case study shows significant volatility in the healthcare labor market.
Specifically the evolution of healthcare professional attrition has been on the rise for the last 20 years.
Fig1
This has caused the net evolution of healthcare professionals to be quite variable.
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The below figure shows the variation of profession types across the different areas with most of the fulfillment only in the cities (Abu Dhabi and Al Ain).
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The work demonstrates that the axiomatic design theory as applied to large flexible systems can be applied to data-centric methods in human resources management in the context of skills shortages and high attrition rates.
About the Author:
Inas Khayal is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Clinical Practice at The Dartmouth Institute within the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.  Her research interests focuses on on developing systems solutions that curb the growth of chronic disease by apply systems engineering tools and techniques to medicine.
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The LIINES Commitment to Open-Information

 Good science is reproducible.   This means that it must be publicly available, its contributions transparently communicated, and its data accessible.  These are principles that drive the everyday work of every individual’s research at the LIINES.  We now wish to go further and make a commitment to Open-Information.
Beginning today, the LIINES will seek to leverage its website to make all of its research 100% reproducible by the public at large.   This includes:
  • Sharing all input datasets used to conduct the research for which no prior proprietary or security commitments have been made.
  • Producing scientific publications in such a way that scientific peers can accurately verify & validate the work.
  • Making the content of all conference, journal and book-chapter publications freely available in author preprint form.  (Note: Most publishers allow self-archiving and open-distribution of author preprints).
We believe that the LIINES’ research has broad applicability to academia, industry, government and the public at large.   However, traditional publication venues are often only subscribed by academic universities and a handful of well-funded industrial companies.   All-too-often the people that can benefit from this work, never get a chance to see it.   This slows down the work’s potential impact and is counter to the LIINES mission.   It is for these reasons, that the LIINES makes its Open-Information commitment.
While it is natural that making all of this information available will take some time, we will be sure to keep blogging to keep you up to date of new additions to the LIINES website.  For now, feel free to visit the LIINES Datasets Repository which includes both data from our publications as well as a collation of several relevant and openly available datasets.
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Journal Paper Accepted at the Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing: Measures of reconfigurability and its key characteristics in intelligent manufacturing systems

The LIINES is pleased to announce that the Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing has accepted our paper entitled: “Measures of reconfigurability and its key characteristics in intelligent manufacturing systems”. The paper is authored by Amro M. Farid and was published in October 2014.

Many manufacturing challenges arise with the global trend of increased competition in the marketplace.  Production processes must deal with shorter product lifecycles and mass-customization. Consequently, production systems need to be quickly and incrementally adjusted to meet the ever-changing products. Reconfigurable manufacturing systems have been proposed as a solution that facilitates changing production processes for highly automated production facilities.

Much research has been done in the field of reconfigurable manufacturing systems. Topics include: modular machine tools and material handlers, distributed automation, artificially intelligent paradigms, and holonic manufacturing systems.  While these technological advances have demonstrated robust operation and been qualitatively successful in achieving reconfigurability, there has been comparatively little attention devoted to quantitative design methodologies of these reconfigurable manufacturing systems and their ultimate industrial adoption remains limited.

Measuring reconfigurability of manufacturing systems quantitatively has been a major challenge in the past, since a quantitative reconfigurability measurement process was non-existent. Earlier work developed a measurement method that extracts measurables from the production shop floor. When this was established, basic measures of reconfiguration potential and reconfiguration ease were developed, based on axiomatic design for large flexible engineering systems and the design structure matrix respectively.

Reconfiguration of a production process can be split up in four steps: Decide which configuration, Decouple, Reorganize, and Recouple. The larger the number of elements in the system, the more configurations are made possible. This is measured using the reconfiguration potential measure, based on axiomatic design for large flexible engineering systems.

Production processes contain multiple interfaces within themselves. Multiple layers of control can be distinguished, that have to work together to coordinate the physical components. These interfaces are the main determinants for the reconfiguration ease measure.

This paper combines these techniques to define a quantitative measure for reconfigurability and its key characteristics of integrability, convertibility and customization.    The intention behind this research contribution is that it may be integrated in the future into quantitative design methodologies for reconfigurable manufacturing systems, which may be easily adopted by industrial automation and production companies.

About the author: Wester Schoonenberg completed his B.Sc. in Systems Engineering and Policy Analysis Management at Delft University of Technology in 2014. After his bachelors’ degree, Wester started his M.Sc. at Masdar Institute of Science & Technology. Currently, Wester is working on the integrated operation of electrical grids and production systems with a special interest in the demand side management of industrial facilities.

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LIINES Website: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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