Multi-objective optimal design of sustainable products and systems under uncertainty
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Sustainable approaches have been extensively proposed in product, process and system levels. However, a lack of applicable solutions for these methods is identified in the existing research. This research considers uncertainties affecting sustainable systems and comprehensively discusses the need for the optimal design in product and system levels under uncertainty. Based on the economic, social and environmental requirements of a sustainable product, and uncertainties in engineering systems, two innovative methods are proposed. The methods, including agent-based modeling (ABM) and Big Data, quantify effects of users’ preference changes as a significant uncertainty source in a product design process. The effect of quantified uncertainties on the product sustainability is then evaluated, and solutions to reduce the effects are developed. Through a novel control engineering method, uncertainties are modeled in the design process of a product. Using two mathematical models, the cost and environmental impacts in the design process are minimized under users’ preference changes. The models search for an optimal number of iterations in the design process to achieve a sustainable solution. The methods have been extended to model and optimize the sustainable system design under uncertainties. Design of Eco-Industrial Parks (EIPs) is a practical and scientific solution to achieve sustainable industries. To improve the feasibility of flow exchanges between industries in an EIP under several uncertainties, this research provides a perspective analysis for establishing flow exchanges between industries. The sources of uncertainties in the EIPs are then comprehensively studied, and research gaps are highlighted. Finally, models to optimize flow exchanges between industries are presented and the validity of models is evaluated using real data. A major is including all sustainability pillars in the proposed approach. The research addresses users’ preferences to highlight the role of individuals in the society. Moreover, the economic and environmental objective functions have been considered for optimal decision making in the design process. This research underlines the role of uncertainty studies in the sustainable system design. Multiple classifications, perspective analysis, and optimization objectives are presented to help decision makers with the optimal design of sustainable systems under uncertainties.