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Re: [ontolog-forum] Open Energy Information (WAS: Re: Foundation ontolog

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: David Leal <david.leal@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 08 Mar 2010 13:11:23 +0000
Message-id: <>
Dear All,    (01)

I agree with Duane's comments. The calculation of embedded CO2 is very
complicated, and the ontology/semantic web community has a key part of the
solution.    (02)

The problem is that the supply chains for most products are very long. For
example the CO2 calculations for an electronic product have to include the
mineral extraction to make the special steels, to make the machine tools, to
grind the glass in the optical instruments, which make the masks, etc.. For
this reason a standard in this area, BSI PAS 2050, excludes capital goods
from embedded CO2 calculations. So the calculation of the embedded CO2 in a
holiday includes the jet fuel burned during the flight, but not the fuel
needed to make the aeroplane.    (03)

The reason for the difficulty is simple - a manufacturer or supplier knows
about direct inputs, and direct outputs to waste disposal and re-cycling,
but nothing about what happens further up the supply chain, or further down
the disposal/re-cyclying chain. As a result, it would cost a
manufacturer/supplier a lot of time and money to produce an accurate
estimate of the embedded CO2 in a product.    (04)

A possible solution involves publication of information about inputs and
outputs by each organization within a supply chain (including the
disposal/re-cycling chain). Each organization would publish only what it
knows - direct inputs and outputs. The CO2 emissions embedded within a
product are then produced by software which navigates the published
information about the supply chain as a whole.    (05)

In order to enable this to happen, standard ontologies are needed:
- to represent product structure;
- to represent the inputs and outputs from processes.    (06)

There is another problem - security. The details of product structure, the
inputs and outputs from processes, and the organizations from which supplies
are obtained, are absolutely commercially confidential. The resulting
assessment of embedded CO2 may be commercially embarrasing, but is not
confidential in the same way. Hence there are two parts to implementing a
- standards ontologies which can describe a supply chain; and
- a network of non-disclosure agreements with environmental auditors which
will allow their software to navigate supply chain information published on
the Web to produce accurate figures for embedded CO2.    (07)

Such a network would not involve everybody, and so there would have to be
C02 estimates for non-participating organizations. The estimates could be
provided by data bases such as the EU Platform on LCA
<http://lct.jrc.ec.europa.eu/eplca>. If these estimates were sufficiently
conservative, then there would be an incentive to join the network.    (08)

Best regards,
David    (09)

At 13:32 05/03/2010 -0800, you wrote:
>> Mills wrote:
>> "Let me give a practical near-term example. The Open Energy Information
>> initiative sponsored by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
>> seeks to establish a global energy information commons based on linked open
>> data and data commons principles"....
>Are you involved in this?  Very cool!  I have been thinking for a long time
>about the various arguments used for ³green² initiatives such as ³buy
>locally² and have really felt that the lack of some sort of shared metrics
>for determining what ³green² really means is allowing marketeers to hijack
>the term.  Here is an example.
>Many people tell you to ³buy locally².  On some sliding scale though, buying
>locally grown tomatoes becomes more likely more energy consuming that
>importing from other areas.  The various factors that would affect this are
>almost too numerous to think about.  Here is a short list:
>* the energy required to grow food year round in green houses in northern
>climates vs. using natural sunlight.
>* the energy used to move the food (plus how is was produced.  An electric
>train powered by wind carrying Californian avocados to Canada might be
>better than propane powered Canadian greenhouses).
>* The energy used by the farm/producer (including the living arrangements
>with employees, fuel and equipment used, shipments of fertilizer etc.).
>* The distribution network and itıs challenges (refrigeration, freezing,
>storage time...)
>* The use of manual vs automated labor
>* more...
>The idea came to me as I was shopping and was looking at Apples and my wife
>and I were trying to decide which Apples to buy.  It would be nice if every
>food item was clearly labeled with something like ³This piece of fruit used
>XXX of YYY units of energy to be on this shelf².  There are units of energy
>that would be appropriate measuring metrics such as Kilojoules/calories.
>In order to do this, there would have to be a formal model for energy
>calculations.  Most of the data is already known in terms of how much fuel
>the transporters/farms purchase plus the utilities various buildings use.
>Seems like a good place for some data commons principles.
>I started working on such a model but have had little time to complete it.
>I was going to see if someone from the David Suzuki foundation here in town
>might be interested in pursuing this.
>Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Architecture -
>My TV Show - http://tv.adobe.com/show/duanes-world/
>My Blog ­ http://technoracle.blogspot.com/
>My Band ­ http://22ndcenturyofficial.com/
>Twitter ­ http://twitter.com/duanechaos    (010)

David Leal
CAESAR Systems Limited
registered office: 29 Somertrees Avenue, Lee, London SE12 0BS
registered in England no. 2422371
tel:      +44 (0)20 8857 1095
mob:      +44 (0)77 0702 6926
e-mail:   david.leal@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
web site: http://www.caesarsystems.co.uk
============================================================    (011)

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