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Enhancing Waste-to-Energy and Hydrogen Production through Urban–Industrial Symbiosis: A Multi-Objective Optimisation Model Incorporating a Bayesian Best-Worst Method


A surging demand for sustainable energy and the urgency to lower greenhouse gas emissions is driving industrial systems towards more eco-friendly and cost-effective models. Biogas from agricultural and municipal organic waste is gaining momentum as a renewable energy source. Concurrently, the European Hydrogen Strategy focuses on green hydrogen for decarbonising the industrial and transportation sectors. This paper presents a multi-objective network design model for urban–industrial symbiosis, incorporating anaerobic digestion, cogeneration, photovoltaic, and hydrogen production technologies. Additionally, a Bayesian best-worst method is used to evaluate the weights of the sustainability aspects by decision-makers, integrating these into the mathematical model. The model optimises industrial plant locations considering economic, environmental, and social parameters, including the net present value, energy consumption, and carbon footprint. The model’s functionalities are demonstrated through a real-world case study based in Emilia Romagna, Italy. It is subject to sensitivity analysis to evaluate how changes in the inputs affect the outcomes and highlights feasible trade-offs through the exploration of the ϵ-constraint. The findings demonstrate that the model substantially boosts energy and hydrogen production. It is not only economically viable but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with fossil fuels and landfilling. Additionally, it contributes to job creation. This research has significant implications, with potential future studies intended to focus on system resilience, plant location optimisation, and sustainability assessment.

Funding source: Project partially funded under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), Mission 04 Component 2 Investment 1.5—NextGenerationEU, Call for tender n. 3277 dated 30 December 2021. Award Number: 0001052 dated 23 June 2022. Also, partially funded by the ESF REACT-EU: Programma Operativo Nazionale (PON) “Ricerca e Innovazione” 2014–2020, CCI2014IT16M20P005, Progetti DM 1062 del 10 August 2021.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Italy

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