M. Collins

Publications

2 Probabilistic Life Cycle Assessment of the Nano Membrane Toilet

Authors: M. Collins, A. Anastasopoulou, A. Kolios, T. Somorin, A. Sowale, Y. Jiang, B. Fidalgo, A. Parker, L. Williams, E. J. McAdam, S. Tyrrel

Abstract:

Developing countries are nowadays confronted with great challenges related to domestic sanitation services in view of the imminent water scarcity. Contemporary sanitation technologies established in these countries are likely to pose health risks unless waste management standards are followed properly. This paper provides a solution to sustainable sanitation with the development of an innovative toilet system, called Nano Membrane Toilet (NMT), which has been developed by Cranfield University and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The particular technology converts human faeces into energy through gasification and provides treated wastewater from urine through membrane filtration. In order to evaluate the environmental profile of the NMT system, a deterministic life cycle assessment (LCA) has been conducted in SimaPro software employing the Ecoinvent v3.3 database. The particular study has determined the most contributory factors to the environmental footprint of the NMT system. However, as sensitivity analysis has identified certain critical operating parameters for the robustness of the LCA results, adopting a stochastic approach to the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) will comprehensively capture the input data uncertainty and enhance the credibility of the LCA outcome. For that purpose, Monte Carlo simulations, in combination with an artificial neural network (ANN) model, have been conducted for the input parameters of raw material, produced electricity, NOX emissions, amount of ash and transportation of fertilizer. The given analysis has provided the distribution and the confidence intervals of the selected impact categories and, in turn, more credible conclusions are drawn on the respective LCIA (Life Cycle Impact Assessment) profile of NMT system. Last but not least, the specific study will also yield essential insights into the methodological framework that can be adopted in the environmental impact assessment of other complex engineering systems subject to a high level of input data uncertainty.

Keywords: Artificial Neural Network, Monte Carlo simulations, LCA, sanitation systems, stochastic uncertainty analysis, nano membrane toilet

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 370
1 Potential of Irish Orientated Strand Board in Bending Active Structures

Authors: M. Collins, B. O’Regan, T. Cosgrove

Abstract:

To determine the potential of a low cost Irish engineered timber product to replace high cost solid timber for use in bending active structures such as gridshells a single Irish engineered timber product in the form of orientated strand board (OSB) was selected. A comparative study of OSB and solid timber was carried out to determine the optimum properties that make a material suitable for use in gridshells. Three parameters were identified to be relevant in the selection of a material for gridshells. These three parameters are the strength to stiffness ratio, the flexural stiffness of commercially available sections, and the variability of material and section properties. It is shown that when comparing OSB against solid timber, OSB is a more suitable material for use in gridshells that are at the smaller end of the scale and that have tight radii of curvature. Typically, for solid timber materials, stiffness is used as an indicator for strength and engineered timber is no different. Thus, low flexural stiffness would mean low flexural strength. However, when it comes to bending active gridshells, OSB offers a significant advantage. By the addition of multiple layers, an increased section size is created, thus endowing the structure with higher stiffness and higher strength from initial low stiffness and low strength materials while still maintaining tight radii of curvature. This allows OSB to compete with solid timber on large scale gridshells. Additionally, a preliminary sustainability study using a set of sustainability indicators was carried out to determine the relative sustainability of building a large-scale gridshell in Ireland with a primary focus on economic viability but a mention is also given to social and environmental aspects. For this, the Savill garden gridshell in the UK was used as the functional unit with the sustainability of the structural roof skeleton constructed from UK larch solid timber being compared with the same structure using Irish OSB. Albeit that the advantages of using commercially available OSB in a bending active gridshell are marginal and limited to specific gridshell applications, further study into an optimised engineered timber product is merited.

Keywords: Sustainability, bending active gridshells, low cost material, High end timber structures

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1366

Abstracts

1 Probabilistic Life Cycle Assessment of the Nano Membrane Toilet

Authors: M. Collins, A. Anastasopoulou, A. Kolios, T. Somorin, A. Sowale, Y. Jiang, B. Fidalgo, A. Parker, L. Williams, E. J. McAdam, S. Tyrrel

Abstract:

Developing countries are nowadays confronted with great challenges related to domestic sanitation services in view of the imminent water scarcity. Contemporary sanitation technologies established in these countries are likely to pose health risks unless waste management standards are followed properly. This paper provides a solution to sustainable sanitation with the development of an innovative toilet system, called Nano Membrane Toilet (NMT), which has been developed by Cranfield University and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The particular technology converts human faeces into energy through gasification and provides treated wastewater from urine through membrane filtration. In order to evaluate the environmental profile of the NMT system, a deterministic life cycle assessment (LCA) has been conducted in SimaPro software employing the Ecoinvent v3.3 database. The particular study has determined the most contributory factors to the environmental footprint of the NMT system. However, as sensitivity analysis has identified certain critical operating parameters for the robustness of the LCA results, adopting a stochastic approach to the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) will comprehensively capture the input data uncertainty and enhance the credibility of the LCA outcome. For that purpose, Monte Carlo simulations, in combination with an artificial neural network (ANN) model, have been conducted for the input parameters of raw material, produced electricity, NOX emissions, amount of ash and transportation of fertilizer. The given analysis has provided the distribution and the confidence intervals of the selected impact categories and, in turn, more credible conclusions are drawn on the respective LCIA (Life Cycle Impact Assessment) profile of NMT system. Last but not least, the specific study will also yield essential insights into the methodological framework that can be adopted in the environmental impact assessment of other complex engineering systems subject to a high level of input data uncertainty.

Keywords: Artificial Neural Network, Monte Carlo simulations, LCA, sanitation systems, nano-membrane toilet, stochastic uncertainty analysis

Procedia PDF Downloads 57