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Research: Projects

Here is a list of the national and international research projects.

TwoLe: A DSS to planning and managing water resource systems


Dates:
2005-2007
Partners:
Università degli studi di Milano, IT
IEIIT - CNR, IT
DIIAR - Politecnico di Milano, IT
CIRF, IT
Consorzio del Ticino, IT
Sponsors:
FONDAZIONE CARIPLO, IT
Description:
The aim of the project is to develop a Multi-Objective Decision Support System (MODSS) for planning and management of water resources at the basin scale. The MODSS, called TwoLe, is constituted by a platform of computing tools that support the decision-making process both at the planning and management level. TwoLe is tested on two pilot project applications:
TwoLe/A: Real-time management of lake Verbano
A software system (called TwoLe/M) is developed for supporting real-time management of lake Verbano. Through adaptive control techniques, TwoLe/M determines the most efficient release decision based on real-time information about the hydro-meteorological conditions of the water system and the requests from water users (namely irrigation and hydropower). It also supports comparison of different decisions and negotiations among stakeholders' representatives by allowing for simulation of the system under different decisions and scenarios. The lake's Regulator, the stakeholders' representatives and the public can access the software system thorugh the web with different access permissions.
TwoLe/B: Policy design for lake Como
Efficient management policies for lake Como are designed and their effects evaluated through simulation and elicitation of the stakeholders' preferences. The policy design is developed according to the Participatory and Integrated Planning (PIP) procedure, and it is supported by the Multi-Objective Decision Support System TwoLe/P. Different scenarios are taken under exam to assess the effects of variations in the operating conditions of the water system (e.g. variations in the water demand from downstream irrigation districts).

Further information are available at the Project web site:
www.twole.info

Contact: Prof. Rodolfo Soncini-Sessa
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ECATE: Efficiency and environmental compatibility of energy conversion technologies: Biomass potential at local level

Dates:
2005-2008
Partners:
LEAP - Laboratorio Energia e Ambiente Piacenza, IT
Dipartimento di Energetica, Politecnico di Milano, IT
Sponsors:
Regione Emilia-Romagna, IT
Description:
Aim of the project is to study biomass for energy potential for the Emilia-Romagna region. Biomass availability is estimated from agricultural, wood industry and forest residues and by-products. Moreover, the potential of growing energy crops on marginal and set-aside land is considered. Different technologies to produce energy from biomass are be compared, such as: distributed use in domestic boilers; concentrated use in plants producing heat for district heating and/or electrical energy. Optimal solutions for biomass-to-energy systems are identified according to three objectives: maximize energy production; maximize the amount of avoided CO2 emissions with respect natural gas (the cleanest fossil fuel); maximize economic returns. These objectives are calculated accounting for each step of the biomass-to-energy logistic chain, thus considering the growth, harvest, transport and convertion of biomass into energy.
This research is part of the wider project ECATE about energy efficiency and environmental compatibility of energy conversion technologies. ECATE focuses on: highly efficient generation of thermal energy; renewable energies and municipal solid waste incineration; thermohydraulic experiment for nuclear power plant components; carbon capture and sequestration technologies.

Further information are available at the Project web site:
www.leap.polimi.it

Contact: Prof. Marino Gatto
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Kyoto Project, research on climate change and greenhouse gases control in Lombardy: Environmental externalities

Dates:
2005-2007
Partners:
Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali, Università degli Studi di Parma, IT
FEEM - Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, IT
Sponsors:
FLA - Fondazione Lombardia per l'Ambiente, IT
Ministero dell'Ambiente, IT
APAT - Agenzia per la Protezione dell'Ambiente e per i Servizi Tecnici, IT
Regione Lombardia, IT
Description:
The main objectives of this research are:
  • to present state of the art regional assessment studies of global climate change impacts;
  • to create a synoptic web chart describing direct and indirect climate change impacts on region Lombardia and identifying the most vulnerable areas;
  • to quantitatively assess global climate change impacts on vulnerable parts of region Lombardia, precisely: 1) impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity, with regard to natural capital; 2) impacts on infrastructures, with regard to social and built capital.
    Regarding global climate change effects on natural systems in Lombardia, we assess expected changes through habitat suitability models (which evaluate the suitability of a certain area for a specific species on the basis of the area characteristics) for vulnerable areas and charismatic species of the Lombardia region. In particular, we study climate change impacts on alpine ibex (Capra ibex ibex) in Parco dell’Adamello and brown trout (Salmo trutta) in the upper portion of river Adda. Habitat suitability changes due to climatic changes are evaluated through temperature and precipitation variations.

    Further information are available at the Project web site:
    www.kyotolombardia.org

    Contact: Prof. Marino Gatto
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    Valuing the External Costs of PM10 Pollution at Regional Level

    Dates:
    2005-2006
    Partners:
    ARPA Lombardia, IT
    Sponsors:
    ARPA Lombardia, IT
    Description:
    The project has been developed with ARPA Lombardia, the regional environmental agency, to support decisions about traffic restrictions and domestic heating improvements by evaluating the expected reduction of external costs of air pollution. The PM10 External Costs System covers the entire Lombardy region (more than 1500 municipalities and 8 million inhabitants) and is dedicated to local authorities as well as to technical staff of various offices in the local government. The software follows the ideas proposed by the EU ExternE project, a long run research effort to evaluate the economic impact of air polluting activities in Europe. The major problem in dealing with PM10 is that the majority of it is secondary pollution and its concentration is above the standard for most of the year in many crowded areas of the region. The logical flow of the system starts from scenario hypotheses about the composition of the vehicle fleet and the domestic heating systems, computes the emissions, converts emissions into mean concentrations, then computes the impacts of such concentrations to human morbidity and mortality, and finally transforms these values into external costs.

    Further information are downloadable here:
    detailed description of the project

    Contact: Prof. Giorgio Guariso
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    Decision support systems for integrated planning of water resources: state of the art and open issues

    Dates:
    2004-2005
    Partners:
    Università degli studi di Bologna, IT
    Università degli studi di Milano, IT
    Università degli studi di Udine, IT
    Università Commerciale Bocconi, IT
    Sponsors:
    MIUR, IT
    Description:
    The aim of the project is to evaluate pros and cons of adopting Decision Support Systems for planning the water resources use at the basin scale in the Italian context. Emphasis is given to the integration of socio-economic issues and environmental aspects with reference to agricultural practices, land planning and water reservoir management.

    Further information are available at the Project web site

    Contact: Prof. Rodolfo Soncini-Sessa
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    Environmental-Energy-Plan (EEP) of the province of Cremona (Northern Italy)

    Dates:
    2003-2004
    Partners:
    ENEA, IT
    Punto Energia, IT
    Ecosistemi Srl, IT
    Sponsors:
    Provincia di Cremona, IT
    Description:
    The purpose of the project, carried out in 2003-04 for the local government of the province, is to outline the local energy budget, analyse energy resources (one of the most important indicator of economic trend), evaluate related environmental aspects (indicators of life quality) and define the sectors where the local government can intervene to foster sustainable development. The project has been carried out following the Local Agenda21 process: all the stakeholders (from energy experts, to representatives of local organizations to interested private citizens) have been involved since the beginning, during the Agenda21 forums. The developed software was used by a variety of people to support discussions and reach a consensus on the development plans. It is being also used to monitor the development and execution of the selected plan, targeting the emissions of the Kyoto Protocol.

    Further information are downloadable here (detailed description of the project) and at the Project web site:
    www.provincia.cremona.it/agenda21

    Contact: Prof. Giorgio Guariso
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    HARMONI-CA: Harmonised Modelling Tools for Integrated Basin Management


    Dates:
    2002-2007
    Partners:
    RIZA, NL
    Ghent University, BE
    PIK, Potsdam, DE
    GEUS, Copenhagen, DK
    University of Osnabrück, DE
    Sponsors:
    EU-FP5
    Description:
    Harmoni-CA is a large-scale concerted action aimed at synthesising available knowledge on integrated water resource management with the purpose of providing guidance to the development of River Basin Management Plans required by the EU-WFD. The WP3 (Generalized Methodological Framework for the Harmonization of Model Supported Integrated River Basin Management) activity is aimed at delivering science based guidance documents for the harmonised application of methodologies and available ICT-tools, at all relevant spatial scales in Europe (and beyond). WP3 will serve the development of a harmonised methodology for integrated river basin water management along the lines of the WFD under different circumstances across Europe with the involvement of stakeholders and other interest groups, to achieve further harmonisation of the hitherto fragmented approaches. DEI was involved in Harmoni-CA as PIK’s subcontractor for developing the IMA-PIP procedure.

    Further information are available at the web site of WP3

    Contact: Prof. Rodolfo Soncini-Sessa
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    Management of the Environment and Resources using Integrated Techniques (MERIT)


    Dates:
    2001-2004
    Partners: CEH Wallingford, UK
    Aalborg University, DK
    GEUS Denmark, DK
    Univ. of Birmingham, UK
    UCLM, ES
    CESI, IT
    Regione Abruzzo, IT
    Sponsors:
    EU-FP5
    Description:
    The aim of the project is to develop a practical and effective methodology for supporting water managers in multiobjective decision-making while ensuring active involving of the stakeholders. To this end, an integrated management tool is developed, based on the concept of Bayesian Belief Networks. Specific objectives of the project are: (1) to investigate the extent to which Bayesian Belief Networks can be used as a decision support tool for water resources management; (2) to construct four networks for study sites in the UK, Denmark, Italy and Spain, each having different water resources problems; and (3) to develop techniques to encourage and enable full stakeholder involvement in the construction of the networks.

    Further information are available at the Project web site:
    www.merit-eu.net

    Contact: Prof. Rodolfo Soncini-Sessa
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    Optimal Management Policy Design for the The Lake Iseo


    Dates:
    2001-2003
    Sponsors:
    Regione Lombardia, IT
    Description:
    The aim of the project is to implement a decision support system to assist EIA procedure in the Iseo basin in northern Italy. The major issues to be taken into cosideration are flood control for the lake Iseo and its effluent river, hydropower production, water supply for irrigation and environmental quality. Multiobjective optimization techniques are used to compute efficient management policies under different options of two planning interventions: the introduction of a minimum environmental flow constraint on the lake release and the modification of the lake's regulation range.

    Contact: Prof. Rodolfo Soncini-Sessa
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    Lake Verbano: Negotiation between Italy and Switzerland for the Management of the Lake


    Dates:
    1999-2001
    Partners:
    DIIAR - Politecnico di Milano, IT
    IST Cadenazzo, CH
    Consorzio del Ticino, IT
    CESI, IT
    Sponsors:
    EU-INTERREG II
    Description:
    The aim of the project is to define and apply a methodology for facing the conflict on the use of the waters of Lake Verbano, a multipurpose regulated lake located on the Swiss-Italian border. Multi-objective optimization techinques are used to design efficient alternatives that combine structural modification of the lake outlet, changes in the legal constraints (minimum environmental flow and regulation range) and modification of the regulation policy. The effects produced by the efficient alternatives are estimated via simulation and measured by means of an ample set of indicators. Major issues like flood control, hydropower production, water supply for irrigation, protection of riverine habitats as well as recreation activities, fisheries and navigation are considered. Multi Attribute Value Theory is used for assessing the subjective judgments of the Stakeholders over the efficient alternatives and negotiations among Stakeholders are organized in order to identify the ones that gain the widest agreement.

    The development of the project is described, both in its theoretical foundation and technical details, in the book The Verbano Project (in Italian)

    Contact: Prof. Rodolfo Soncini-Sessa
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    GAIA: a Multi-Media Tool for Natural Resources Management and Environmental Education

    Dates:
    1996-1998
    Partners:
    ESS GmbH, AT
    ICCE, UK
    Univ. de Belgrano, AR
    Tsinghua Univ., CN
    Univ. of Alexandria, EG
    Univ. of Mexico, MX
    Asian Institute for Technology, TH
    Univ. de los Andes, VE
    Univ. of Zimbabwe, ZW
    Sponsors:
    EU-INCO
    Description:
    A Multi-Media Tool for Natural Resources Management and Environmental Education addresses both issues of environmental planning and management as well as information technology. Its primary objective is to build multi-media tools for environmental education and management, in a collaboration of 10 countries from Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In collaboration with two European institutions and university partners from seven developing countries, the project has developed a client/server multi-media system for environmental education, using the EARSS system as its starting point. Developed both as a workstations version and an internet server, GAIA provides access to numerous case studies and examples of environmental issues, problems, and solutions, embedded in the framework of Agenda 21.

    Further information are available at the Project web site:
    www.ess.co.at/GAIA

    Contact: Prof. Giorgio Guariso
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