Modelling complex systems thanks to SCALEM® technology

Published on 02/02/2018

On 24-27 January 2018, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) participated in the 10th Biannual Emergy conference in Gainesville, Florida (USA). The institute was represented by Antonino Marvuglia and Tomas Navarrete, LIST’s experts in the field of Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis, who held the 1st “SCALEM® users’ workshop”.

What is SCALEM®?

The Software for CAlculating EMergy based on life cycle inventories (SCALEM®) has been recently developed by LIST and other research partners (INSA Toulouse and the University of Le Havre, both from France) to compute eMergy flows by using life cycle inventory (LCI) product system models, which are made of a collection of thousands of interconnected unit processes containing average technology data. 

EMergy analysis is an environmental assessment approach able to account for the work made by natural processes (and by human activities, which make use of the natural resources) to make a product or service available. It is a measure of the energy embodied in the life cycle of a production system, expressed in the form of equivalent solar energy. It represents a “memory” of all the energy used up by natural processes from the cradle (the sun) to the gate (the product). 

SCALEM® allows eMergy flows to be traced to identify how the supply-chains of any product in its life cycle interact and converge to a functional unit, i.e. a desired reference quantity of the studied product. This allows automatic eMergy calculation for real technology-driven systems (production processes), which are detailed in the so-called life cycle inventory (LCI). The software is currently registered with an i-Depot (number 072399) submitted to the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) on 2 February 2016 and a licensing scheme is currently studied at LIST.

Focus on the 1st “SCALEM® users’ workshop”

About 25 participants attended the workshop, with a majority from the academic world, some freelance consultants and one spin-off. The participants received information on the current status of the development of SCALEM® and had the opportunity to work with it in a “hands-on” part of the workshop. 

Several participants to the conference expressed a wide interest for the software during the three days of the conference, demonstrating the potential for its transfer to the market. Now it is time to distribute it for testing to a wider user base and implement the licensing scheme.

Participating in this conference was of great interest for LIST’s researchers. In parallel from SCALEM® workshop, they attended various presentations and had a number of exchanges with eMergy scholars. Antonino Marvuglia also gave a a presentation entitled: “Emergy analysis of a process of plasma driven deposition of organosilicon anti corrosion layers on galvanized steel based on life cycle inventory”.

> For any further information on this topic, please contact Antonino Marvuglia or Tomas Navarrete via email.

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