Environmental and economic impacts of industrial activities


Our modern societies have become too wasteful and too compartmentalised. We cannot—and should not—continue thinking and working in manners which is often called “business as usual” and inside established institutional or disciplinary boxes. We need to continuously analyse and understand the impacts of our industrial activities, in order to be able to improve their efficiency and effectiveness, while minimising the risk of shifting or creating new sets of problems. My research is about assessing the environmental and economic impacts of industrial activities, in order to support strategic decision-making regarding the implementation of feasible and resource-efficient solutions. 

I do research on the feasibility and performance of industrial solutions when wide system scope is considered. I consider a wide system perspective which is often called life-cycle approach. In addition, since industrial solutions can be viewed from different perspectives, I use a multi-dimensional and cross-disciplinary approach to assess them. This, I do by multi-criteria approaches. In short, I tend to use two complementary approaches in assessing the performance and feasibility of industrial solutions: the life-cycle approach, and the multi-criteria approach. My approach is often inspired by “industrial ecology” and “industrial symbiosis” concepts which aim to increase resource efficiency by finding innovative ways to reduce waste and emissions and increase the economic productivity via closing the material and energy flows, substituting them with better alternatives or integrating them with other activities. I am interested in developing life-cycle and multi-criteria based methodologies (LCA and MCA) which allow more in-depth and more comprehensive analyses of suitability, environmental and economic performance of industrial solutions.

Resource-efficient biogas solutions

Biogas solutions are particularly of my interest, because they not only have the potential to address the issue of “biological wastes” in a cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable manner, but also can contribute to a few other traditionally separate problems such as producing renewable energy carriers, nutrient recycling, and reducing the eutrophication of the water bodies such as the Baltic Sea. Biogas solutions are versatile—multi-function, flexible and scalable. They can take many different types of input materials and can be used in both small and large scales, hence, have the potential to significantly influence the sustainability of local and regional communities.
Currently my research is focused on system analysis of biogas production systems and I am involved in few projects hosted by Biogas Research Center (BRC). I and my colleagues have developed a multi-criteria based methodology for assessing the feasibility and resource-efficiency of different types of biomass (feedstock) for biogas production. This research is related to the overall question of “under what conditions is it suitable to use a given biomass flow for biogas production?” We have asked this questions for several types of biomass such as food waste, straw, ley, mussels, and algae. Since this question is multi-faceted, life-cycle analysis in itself is not enough to approach it. Therefore, a multi-criteria methodology is developed and applied within BRC.
In another project, I am focussing on different biogas production systems based on food waste in Sweden. I have developed a tailored LCA tool for modelling the economic and environmental impacts of biogas production systems. In this tool, I have incorporated a method to take into account uncertainties related to knowledge gaps, parameters, and the assumptions used in the models. I am involved in several case-studies involving actual biogas production plants, where we collect information about their production system and analyse their performance in more detail.

Systems analysis of a cement production

Previously, I did a systems analysis of three cement production plants located in Germany. In that study, I used a multi-criteria approach to identify, classify, assess different development options for these cement production plants. In addition, I used life-cycle assessment (LCA) to compare the climate performance of different cement products as well as production systems. The results showed that industrial symbiosis initiatives—such as replacing clinker by recycled limestone from iron and steel industry through synergistic links between cement and iron and steel plants—had not only significantly improved the climate performance of these cement plants, but also had a great potential for further improvements. In this study a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches was used to identify and assess the possible measures and suitable future scenarios that this production system can take in order to improve its climate performance even further.
 

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CV

  • B.Sc, Electrical engineering, University of Tehran, 1997
  • M.Sc, Mechanical engineering (energy and environmental), Linköping University, 2011
  • Licentiate, Environmental systems analysis, Linköping University, 2014

Teaching

  • Biofuels for Transport (TKMJ31)
  • Industrial Symbiosis (TKMJ38)

 

Supervision of thesis projects for the international master’s program in Sustainability Engineering and Management

 

 

Latest publications
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2019

2017

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