Green & Environmental

Green & Environmental

To better understand how natural systems react to changing conditions, environmentalists have turned to simulation to help establish appropriate policy and make informed decisions.

ExtendSim Suite ExtendSim AT

ExtendSim Consultant Ben Twomey has found that using ExtendSim for dynamic simulation to solve some types of problems can be a very fast solution. Eight hours was all that was needed to build and deliver a two-site dam raising simulation that estimated completion schedule as a function of shift structure, hauler selection, and more. Dam RaisingExtendSim provided Ben "robust, rapid decision support that a spreadsheet couldn't deliver". Environmental PolicyAn energetic materials environmental study was completed with participation from NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others to define the environmental impact of energetic materials waste (gun propellant). The Strategic Environmental Research and Development ProgramThe ExtendSim model developed by The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) documented environmental cost information such as cost for waste, air emissions, permitting, and pollution prevention to help establish a standard for the development of new energetic materials.
Nuclear SolutionsUsing Extendsim, Savannah River National Lab developed simulation models of the Savannah River Site. Savannah River Nuclear SolutionsThese models examine the process plutonium and spent uranium fuel rods undergo as they are being turned into waste and/or mixed oxide fuels. Wastewater ManagementCarrollo Engineers have developed a fully customizable simulation and optimization model suite developed in Carrollo EngineersExtendSim to help clients manage complex, interconnected water and wastewater infrastructure, storage, treatment, conveyance, and distribution systems.

 

ExtendSim and the Environment

System design for wastewater treatment for rural and low-income disadvantaged communities.

Environmental impact analysis of construction projects.

Predicting the impact of R&D and capital investment decisions on the evolution of biomass conversion technologies for feedstock development.

Sustainability and traceability.

Predict future weather patterns.

Trading and marketing strategies for recycled glass.

Who is Using ExtendSim

SimOptResearchers created a prototype simulation-based optimization (SIMOPT) approach to study the biomass to commodity chemicals (BTCC) system evolution under exogenous and endogenous uncertainties. The model provides a preliminary analysis of the impact of using three different sampling methods, i.e., Monte Carlo, Latin Hypercube, and Halton sequence, to generate simulation runs to achieve the least computational cost of the SIMOPT approach to reach a statistically significant solution.

ExtendSim was used to devise a treatment alternative evaluation for the City of Phoenix Western Canal Well Field Study to help optimize planning, design, and operational parameters.

Logging operationsIn 2014, Worley Parsons created a supply chain simulation of a complex logging operation in New Zealand focusing on port operations to assist in assessing throughput improvement options. This project undertook significant historical data modelling to create a robust, stochastic truck and docket arrivals generator that feeds a detailed port-side storage and log handling simulation. The simulation enables future annual target throughput to be defined, and from this a realistic logging and shipping operation is simulated. It enables detailed quantitative assessment of the likely impacts of alternate business improvement options. Primary skills applied were:

Data cleansing, interpretation and modelling to fit input data probability densities (continuous and empirical).
Use of ExtendSim's advanced resource management capability in a pseudo-object oriented model architecture.
Monte Carlo sampling in a discrete event simulation with statistical results analysis

Phoenix RapidFireAn ExtendSim consultant working for the Queensland Fire Service, built a custom block and model in ExtendSim to interface with an advanced wildfire simulator called Phoenix RapidFire - a deterministic wildfire spread simulation used across Australia's emergency services. Being deterministic, a recognised operational problem is that Phoenix really only gives a single best guess spread prediction for a given set of inputs. By using Extendsim to pull in the original Phoenix project and fuel types xml files, the consultant could define the levels of certainty for the forecast weather stream, point and time of ignition, and the fuel loads inputs so the ExtendSim model could generate a stochastic version of the Phoenix files. The result is a bunch of shape files (possible fire spread futures) that the GIS team uses to create a single probabilistic fire spread map and a bunch of other really powerful spin off products. These are going to be used during the fire season in the field to help better manage wildfire response and enhance community safety.

Half DomeRSG's Public Lands Planning and Management group model visitor use at national parks and forests, providing a basis for standards that frame acceptable conditions. The goal is to optimize park operations and maximize visitor experiences while minimizing search-and-rescue incidents in the wilderness areas such as the Half Dome Trail.

Case Studies Case Studies

UBO & SPICOSA Coupling the ExtendSim Platform with HEC-HMS for Modeling Irrigation Strategies
M.Lample, D.Bailly, J.Ballé-Béganton,
Université de Brest


The quantitative water management of the Charente River in France is a major policy concern because of freshwater scarcity in summer. In the context of the SPICOSA project (Science and Policy Integration for Coastal System Assessment) as mentioned below, this policy issue was chosen to apply the System Approach Framework (SAF) methodology. This led to modeling irrigation management strategies to quantify its impacts on various uses.

They built an external hydrological model in HEC-HMS (Hydrologic Engineering Center's Hydrologic Modeling System) and interfaced with ExtendSim to work as a source of forcing. This strategy proved to be more efficient to model water shortages without renouncing the benefits of system-modeling inside the ExtendSim platform and with the advantage of a software dedicated to hydrological modeling. Using this experiment, the paper discusses the case of “in-line”, “on-line”, or “off-line” coupling modes to serve the objectives of policy orientated complex socio-ecosystems modeling.Download PDF
BFIN

Bioenergy Feedstock Information Network
(gateway to a wealth of biomass feedstock information resources from the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and other research organizations)

Bioenergy feedstock cycleThis consortium used ExtendSim to create the Integrated Biomass Supply Analysis & Logistics (IBSAL) model. This biomass supply chain model starts from defining the logistical features of the supply such as number of farms involved, average yield, the start and progress of harvest schedule, and the moisture content of the crop.

The model also requires daily weather data such as temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, rainfall and snow fall. A spreadsheet containing equipment specifications provides data for calculating service times. This information is used in calculating drying and wetting of the biomass and workability of the soil. The user also defines the safe moisture content for baling and minimum temperature below which farm operations will cease. Once all input parameters are identified, the model calculates costs per ton of biomass, energy input and emissions (CO2) from equipment.

Development of the Integrated Biomass Supply Analysis and Logistics Model (IBSAL) Download pdf
Iowa State University Using GIS and Intelligent Transportation Tools for Biomass Supply Chain Modeling and Cost Assessment
Slobodan Gutesa (thesis submitted to the graduate faculty in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Agricultural Engineering)
Iowa State University


Stable, functional, and efficient bioethanol production systems on the national level must emphasize solutions of feedstock availability and transportation problems. Transportation logistics are a critical factor in the optimization of biomass supply chains. A single 25 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol biorefinery will require delivery of 18,500 semi loads of bales to the plant. For a typical corn-stover biomass supply chain, baled corn stover must be transported in two phases, first from the field to a storage site and then from the storage site to the biorefinery. All activities between these two points are interconnected and together they form the biomass supply chain. The goal of supply-chain optimization is to minimize the total cost of these activities (transportation cost per unit, inventory cost per unit etc.) while satisfying the supply demands of a biorefinery.

A model of the supply-chain representing a realistic biomass transportation cycle between a single cornfield and biomass storage was created in ExtendSim. It included multiple simulations using different model factors providing a complete assessment of influence of various factors on system productivity.
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Fairfield Tropical Botanic Garden Simulating Global Warming

A comprehensive middle school and high school environmental education program coupled with support from the National Science Foundation created an ExtendSim model simulating the effects of rainforest deforestation and agriculture (planting pasture crops) on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and on animals living in the rainforest. Hence, the Rainforest Carbon Cycling Model was born.

The Rainforest Carbon Cycling Model makes a tropical rain forest come alive as carbon from the air flows through it! Designed for users with no previous modeling experience, this model allows users to delve into ‘What if?’ sorts of questions about factors that limit forest production and the effects of land-use change on carbon cycling and global warming.

Rainforest Carbon Cycling Model History
Fairfield ChallengeAnn Russell, Terrestrial Ecosystems Ecologist at Iowa State University had a dream to develop a model of carbon cycling in a tropical rain forest using ExtendSim energy language model. Using data collected from research in a Costa Rican rainforest, Jim Dailey of Jim Dailey & Associates transformed the data into an animated, bilingual model for children and the general public and called it the Rainforest Carbon Cycling Model.

The model was distributed to 45,000 children in the Miami-Dade County school system through an outreach program organized by the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida called the Fairchild Challenge

Fairfield Challenge Overview
Designed for students of diverse interests, abilities, talents and backgrounds, the Fairchild Challenge is Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's environmental education outreach program. With separate but parallel programs for different grade levels 6 to 8 and 9 to 12, the Fairchild Challenge is composed of multidisciplinary competitions aligned with Sunshine State Standards.

The annual Fairchild Challenge options are intended to appeal to students' sense of play and creativity, to encourage them to experiment with ideas, projects and skills and to empower them to seek information and voice opinions. This free program was originally open to all schools in the greater Miami area. As of January 2010, 92 middle schools and 61 high schools are actively participating in the Fairfield Challenge. Other sites are replicating the Fairchild Challenge model nationally and abroad.


Rainforest Carbon Cycling Model Go to page...
The Fairfield Challenge Go to page...
National Park Service Computer Simulation Modeling for Recreation Management: A Study on Carriage Road Use in Acadia National Park, Maine, USA
Benjamin Wang, Robert E. Manning
January 1999 - Environmental Management


Simulation is used as a tool for describing visitor travel on the carriage roads of Acadia National Park, Maine, USA. The findings of this study suggest that computer simulation is useful for estimating current carrying capacity conditions, predicting future conditions, and guiding related research.Go to page...
American Meteorological Society Potential Effects of Long-Lead Hydrologic Predictability on Missouri River Main-Stem Reservoirs
Edwin P. Maurer, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA & Dennis P. Lettenmaier, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Journal of Climate 2004 - Issue 17, Volume 2


Using ExtendSim, the authors constructed a system model, MOSIM, that uses the physical reservoir data and minimum releases for hydropower and environmental constraints from a long-term study of the Missouri River basin. The value was based on the hydropower generated by the main-stem dams for a simulated period of 1898–1996 using MOSIM. Simulated forecasted flows were generated to represent the levels of predictability that had been determined in a previous study. The results demonstrate that use of climate forecast information along with better definition of the basin moisture states can improve runoff predictions with modest economic value that, in general, will increase as the size of the reservoir system decreases.Go to page...
SPICOSA SPICOSA
(Science and Policy Integration for Coastal Assessment)

Four year project set up by the European Union. 54 partner institutes in 21 countries are using ExtendSim to study 18 coastal sites in the EU project SPICOSA. This project will assist Europe in its goal of achieving Sustainable Development by developing and testing a conceptual methodological framework for transition in coastal zones. The SPICOSA initiative originates from the fact that coastal systems are under increasing human pressure and policy has not been able to respond properly to the resulting negative impacts on ecological, social and economic systems.

SPICOSA´s overall aim is to develop a self-evolving, holistic research approach and support tools for the assessment of policy options for sustainable management through a balanced consideration of the ecological, social and economic aspects of Coastal Zone Systems (Integrated Coastal Zone Management).

All 18 study sites of SPICOSA are now well underway with the design of their ExtendSIM® models to describe a variety of coastal processes ranging from eutrophication, fisheries, and beach attractiveness to clam culture. A generic model library is a complete set of reusable model components which can be used to (re)build coastal models for new study areas, not much unlike the well-known Lego bricks.

The population of such a model library is one of the key challenges of the project and serves several purposes:

Existing models are easier to expand or maintain.
New models are easier to build.
Quick exchange of models within the scientific community.
Avoidance of unnecessary modelling (not “reinventing the wheel”).

The principles of generic modelling have been elaborated during the SPICOSA Cluster Workshops. For more information about ExtendSim use and its history in SPICOSA projects, read the series of newsletters on the SPICOSA site.Go to page...
Water Environment Federation Low Impact Feasibility Evaluation (LIFE™) Model -
Interactive Tool For Designing Low Impact Developments

2003 - Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation, National TMDL Science and Policy
Daniel E. Medina, Patrick Graham, Jared Thorpe, Avinash Patwardhan, Timothy Hare


Developed in ExtendSim, the LIFE (Low Impact Feasibility Evaluation) model established functional connections between different land uses and landscape features. It has been used for:

Design of volume or water quality based stormwater controls.
Review of development/re-development plans for compliance with stormwater regulations.
Incentive-based approaches such as environmental credit trading.
Public education and outreach.
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Davies Consulting Inc. Storm Planning Model
Davies Consulting Inc.
June 2007


In collaboration with a major utility facing major storms on an annual basis, Davies Consulting Inc. developed an innovative simulation model that allows decision makers to evaluate the affect of strategic decisions on storm restoration prior to and after a storm has struck.Go to page...

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