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Workshop topics for October 17 meeting

Learn more about each topic.

Optional Workshop (11 a.m.)

This session will further our cross-industry written perspective on circularity challenges including discussion of supply-demand mismatches, recovery technologies, logistics and infrastructural needs, policy gaps, and traceability of circularity actions to impacts. Leading into this session several companies have shared individual stories of circularity challenges. We will use the time together to develop these out across the members and identify links between these stories.

Technical Teams Lunch Session (12 p.m.)

The workshop will open with a description of IBM’s PAIRS Geoscope. Next, we will demo the latest iteration of an interactive map that aims to support business decisions related to decarbonization and resilience. The evolution of the map has been through several cycles of prototype development and MCSC member feedback; the result is a platform that aims to be more comprehensive at addressing cross-sectoral needs than other interactive geospatial mapping tools. Currently the prototype contains more than 30 geospatial data layers from public sources including the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Geological Survey, and the Federal Emergency Management Association. These data layers include descriptions of point source emitters, carbon capture infrastructure, natural hazard risk, and social vulnerability. Some of the features of this interactive map include filtering capabilities which allow the user to find facilities that meet certain emissions thresholds, proximity criteria, and natural hazard risk levels. The utility of the map will be demonstrated through case studies related to energy grid resilience and new business models within carbon capture and sequestration.

Parallel Sessions 1 (2:15 p.m.)

The role biomass will play in a decarbonized economy is greatly debated. This workshop will show how the supply of biomass will be constrained by various factors as discussed in our technical team meetings thus far. We hypothesize that making the best use of this scarce resource is only possible through cross-sector coordination. During this workshop, we will run scenarios for how each member could contribute to coupled strategies and practices along the supply chain, and find opportunities for cross-sector synergy.

We will present a design innovation in structural concrete called PixelFrame. PixelFrame, developed by Prof. Caitlin Mueller’s team (MIT Architecture), uses discretized reusable concrete structural elements called Pixels, which are designed for material efficiency and adaptability through an optimisation algorithm. Pixels are designed to be reused in various configurations multiple times, with a potential to provide solutions to the high carbon-intensity of conventional concrete structures and the challenges with recycling them. The optimized PixelFrame design leads to an estimated 60% reduction in carbon footprint relative to a conventional structural element, with further expected reductions if Pixels are reused multiple times. The MIT team has developed a novel structural concrete design that is efficient, reusable, versatile, reconfigurable and resilient, and received MCSC member company feedback on technical design specifications and feasibility of on-the-ground implementation. The goal is to fabricate prototypes at MIT and MCSC member company facilities in Fall 2022, aiming for a full-scale demonstrator building construction in Spring 2023. 

Building on our impact pathway efforts, several of our members are pursuing focused work to enhance data and methodology capability towards improved assessment of the potential for soil carbon removal. The motivation for this work is that the impact of carbon sequestration within agricultural soils either through enhanced agriculture practices or through transitioning to grasslands, shrublands, and forests is largely unknown.This workshop is an opportunity to kick off this work with case study framing. These case studies will be analyzed in the larger context of what the potential is to improve overall carbon capture through nature-based solutions.

Parallel Sessions 2 (4:00 p.m.)

This session will be a study group addressing knowledge gaps around fleet and fuel choice answering the question: what are the cross-sector knowledge gaps we need to close to accelerate decarbonization of tough to decarbonize transport? Electrification of long-haul trucking will be used as an example to kick off the session and then questions will be answered by experts in the domain to support business strategy development

The Social Metrics workshop aims to 1) push the envelope on what is measured and who is considered in sustainable solution-building and 2) engage the complexities of measuring sustainability, including qualitative indicators of human well-being, diverse contexts and goals, and intersections across metrics. We’re expecting MCSC member company representatives as well as the broader MIT community to participate in cross-industry & cross-disciplinary conversations about broad metrics of sustainability that go beyond carbon.

This workshop aims to brainstorm answers to the following questions: 1) What metrics of social impact allow us to benchmark and re-design equitable value chains from the ground up? and 2) How do we avoid failures in the deployment of technology in real-world settings? We’ll start with lightning talks on social metrics and spend much of the workshop time on an interactive exercise, in small groups, that involves identifying and applying social metrics to a given case study on social impacts within value chains.

If you have questions about ways to characterise sustainability that go beyond carbon and improve overall human well-being, this workshop is for you. We’re looking forward to thinking through social dimensions of sustainable solutions, frameworks for metrics that help measure and/or characterise social impact and differences across contexts and sustainability goals.

This workshop will survey key challenges related to climate change and sustainability, and present opportunities where machine learning (ML) can be leveraged to accelerate solutions. A subset of these opportunities will be highlighted through lightning talks by domain experts that will distill multifaceted challenges into critical data gaps. These talks will frame a brainstorming session where participants will discuss how to identify, collect and collate data and apply the ML toolset to advance problem-solving in the domain. Groups will share their collective learning and participants will be able to identify opportunities for future research and collaboration beyond the topics discussed in the workshop by drawing on the common themes across data-driven problems in sustainability.

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