OPTAIR: Multi-criteria optimization for air quality
Supported by the Austrian Research Foundation FFG,
Project No. 814799 and the Province of Lower Austria
management and emission control
1. Technical objectives
The proposal aims at the development and testing of multi-objective,
multi-criteria optimization technology for cost-efficient air quality management
and emission control, including CO2 and GHG emissions.
With the publication of the fourth IPCC report on climate change,
the topic of efficient environmental policy design for emission control
is not only of considerable scientific and technical interest,
but obviously also of great political relevance.
The objective of OPTAIR is to provide tools for the rational design
of effective and cost efficient environmental policies for air quality
management and emission control.
The project results are implemented as a web accessible eConsulting service or,
alternatively, as an optional licensed software component:
this constitutes a major extension and completely new set of functions
of the AirWare system that will greatly enhance its utility and thus market value
beyond compliance monitoring and environmental reporting)
within the framework of the ongoing EUREKA project E!3266 WEBAIR.
Efficient multi-criteria optimization of control measures that simultaneously
considers environmental, technological, and economic criteria adds a completely
new dimension and quality of service that is directly addressing growing concerns
about the environment and in particular, climate change and the related emission control
strategies and policies, going beyond classical air pollutants including
CO2 and GHG as covered by the Kyoto protocol.
Adding economic assessment and cost-effectiveness as part of
the multi-criteria optimization clearly makes the system directly
policy relevant, and by demonstrating to be saving money
will help to justify its costs to any potential end user.
The overall objective is scientifically sound decision support
for environmental management and policy making.
The development of the necessary tools and procedures
must address several closely related technical challenges:
- Physical and Techno-Economic Realism:
The approach is based on state-of-the-art full resolution dynamic,
distributed (3D) complex (photochemical) models.
These include non-hydrostatic meteorological prognostic models for
detailed fields of dynamic meteorological boundary conditions.
Multi-criteria optimization for non-differentiable, complex systems
such as air quality and emission control pose specific methodological
problems that include dynamic, distributed, highly non-linear
(in particular for ozone and wind entrained dust) systems
that defy classical gradient based mathematical programming,
but at the same time have considerable computational requirements
(approximate ratio of 1/10 real-time on a state-of-the-art dual-processor PC
or workstation server system) that precludes any brute forward computational
(Monte-Carlo, shotgun) approach to the inverse solving of
Technical and performance objective: model validation
against air quality observation data according to
Council Directive 1999/30/EC, Appendix VIII
- Economic Efficiency:
Cost-effectiveness and economic efficiency are important considerations
in a policy domain that involves huge costs and benefits.
The potential for economic damages but also gains in terms of competitiveness
in a system of ultimately global emission control and emission
permit trading is very large indeed. Emission control for classical
air pollutants (SO2, CO, NOx, PM10/2.5,) is closely related to the control
of emissions of CO2 and GHG as covered by the Kyoto protocol.
Since these substances are stoichiometrically linked for given fuels,
an emission inventory for CO2 can be tested through a bottom up approach
involving air quality modelling of more directly measurable pollutants
such as SO2 and NOx against air quality monitoring data.
This can be used to validate detailed, source specific and bottom-
up estimates of CO2 and GHG emissions versus the standard
top down macroeconomic approaches, providing an
invaluable second, independent estimate.
Technical and performance objective:
computation and display of relative and absolute improvements through
optimization expressed as percentage and delta of selected performance
criteria compared to the respective baseline scenarios.
Optimization of air quality and emission control is necessarily
optimization under considerable uncertainty.
The robustness (and thus credibility) of solutions for emission control
depends to a considerable degree on the stochastic nature of the
driving meteorological conditions, as well as the uncertainties
of the emission estimates. One possible approach to find robust
and reliable solutions as the basis of sound environmental
policies is to jointly optimize ensembles of driving conditions,
including alternative IPCC scenario based GCM results downscaled
to the level of regional and local urban/industrial air quality problems.
Solutions that are pareto-optimal across a range of conditions and
GCM scenarios are obviously robust, while economic efficiency can
be one of the criteria and objectives directly covered in the
multi-criteria optimization approach.
Technical and performance objective:
demonstrated robustness (pareto optimality) of efficient solutions
across several meteorological scenarios, including CGM results based on IPCC/SRES A2 and B2.
To meet these objectives, the project will develop and implement
as an operational on-line eConsulting service, an innovative optimization methodology
that can combine the full resolution and complexity of the underlying models
with sufficient computational efficiency to support an inverse solution to
non-differentiable system optimization.
This will use:
- A combination of different models for screening and detailed analysis;
- Adaptive domain-specific heuristics, genetic algorithms, machine learning;
- Distributed cluster- and grid computation parallel implementation
(see, for example: http://gridengine.sunsource.net).
OPTAIR builds on the simulation system, models and data bases,
available in EUREKA E!3266 WEBAIR and largely developed in FFG PROJECT Nr.808994.