Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

Incorporating Environmental Impacts in Strategic Redesign of an Engineered System

[+] Author and Article Information
Steven R. Harper

Department of Management, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22801harpe2sr@jmu.edu

Deborah L. Thurston1

Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801thurston@uiuc.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Mech. Des 130(3), 031101 (Feb 04, 2008) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2829858 History: Received January 11, 2006; Revised November 04, 2007; Published February 04, 2008

Large engineered systems do not often live out their life cycles as originally planned. Traditional design methods do not address redesign issues that arise during long term operation of these systems. The problem of how to consider the environmental impacts of stranded assets is especially problematic, particularly during system operational changes. This paper presents a method for analysis of a dynamically changing system that includes consideration of both economic and environmental impacts. A case study of an electrical power system illustrates the approach. Using a 100yr time period and using several decision rules (e.g., keep all plants operating until planned retirement age or retire all plants 10% early), the aggregated results were derived. The best sequence of decision or decision rule can now be determined by the highest multiattribute utility score. The best decision sequence is one that immediately retires and decommissions all fossil fueled electrical power plants, although early retirement without immediate decommissioning produces inferior utility values. There is little gained in utility when extending operational life of the plants, and as the 100yr period moves forward, all solutions collapse on the final system configuration. The results provide several insights that were gained through the ability to forecast the environmental impact caused by changes within the life cycle phases of a system, such as early retirement or operational life extension of facilities.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Progression of the environmental engineering domain of interest

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Figure 2

Environmental impact diagram

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Figure 3

IEEE one area RTS (21-22)

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Figure 4

Retire fuel types early as a group; retire the others as originally planned

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Figure 5

Aggregated environmental impact versus economic cost graph with early retirement alternatives

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Figure 6

Environmental impact versus economic cost graph with operating life extension and forecasting



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