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October 21, 2008 / or4green

INFORMS 2008, Part III

Here are a few final observations from the 2008 INFORMS annual meeting:

I had described the WinDS wind energy LP modeler in an earlier post. Walter Short of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) gave a talk on this system and its successor, ReEDS (Regional Energy Deployment System Model). These models are designed to meet the unique characteristics of renewables, more than would a general energy model like the EPA’s IPM. They are LP models aimed at cost minimization over successive 2 year periods going out to 2050. (Follow this link for some slides about ReEDS.) WinDS was used in a DOE study looking at 20% wind energy by 2030. Check out 20percentwind.org for more on that.

Luiz Freitas

Rain barrels per tract in Chicago, src: Luiz Freitas


The same session included a nice talk by Luiz Freitas of U. of Illinois on a Chicago rain barrel distribution system. The program has distributed 4000 barrels, conserving 1.5 million gallons of water. Rain barrels capture rain water that is then used for watering lawns, plants, etc. So they reduce both demand on the water supply and strain on waste water treatment by keeping some rain out of sewers during storms. The study included a mixed IP aimed at optimizing barrel delivery by minimizing resident travel to distribution sites given a fixed number of sites. I found it to be a good example of doing OR where ur, helping the local community tackle a sustainability problem with OR. This link has more about Chicago’s rain barrel program. Thanks to Luiz for sharing the map of rain barrel penetration (click on it for a larger version).

In all, there were numerous talks related to energy and the environment at INFORMS 2008, many of which had strong ties to sustainability. Emissions trading/taxes, alternative energy, and closed-loop supply chains were especially well represented. I have provided impressions of some of the ones I attended. If you were present for any of these or others, let me know what you thought.

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