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Resilience Analysis and Value of Information With Application to Aviation Biofuels

Connelly, Elizabeth
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Connelly, Elizabeth
Peterson, Lisa
Lambert, James
Clarens, Andres
Resilience analytics for interdependent, complex systems must be able to address deep uncertainties that can arise from surprising emergent conditions, multiple and oftentimes competing objectives, and diverse and changing stakeholder preferences. Methods for identifying resilient priorities need to be adaptable as conditions change over time and new threats arise. Directions for future research should be based on the value of information to understanding disruptive conditions. This dissertation introduces the Resilience and Lifecycle Analysis for Priority Setting (ReLAPSe) methodology, incorporating methods for strategic planning, risk analysis, and sustainability analysis. First, iterative problem framing is suggested as a mean to capture the current state of knowledge over time and problem dynamics to support the adaptability of strategic priorities. Stakeholder engagement and analysis is incorporated to elicit preferences, identify opportunities and concerns, and obtain pertinent, domain-specific knowledge. Multi-criteria analysis and scenario analysis are integrated to study scenario-based preferences as a means to identify emergent conditions disruptive to priorities. Lifecycle and other systems analysis methods are suggested to support robust and sustainable decision-making. The ReLAPSe method is demonstrated in a case study of aviation biofuels. In the first frame of analysis, seven criteria, thirty-seven supply chain initiatives, and twenty-five emergent conditions are identified through stakeholder elicitation. The results reveal scenario s04: Green preferences as the most disruptive, due in part to increased importance of environmental quality. In the second frame of analysis, environmental life cycle assessment is incorporated to address various aspects of environmental quality. The second frame is based on over 40 hours of elicitation with stakeholders from government, academia, and industry specializing in aviation, agriculture, environmental protection, biofuel production, waste management, and energy solutions, among other areas. In this frame, sixteen biofuel pathways, six criteria, and five scenarios are identified. The results reveal low fossil fuel costs to be the most disruptive scenario to priorities. The outputs of the two frames of analysis are used with results from stakeholder and sensitivity analysis to identify resilient strategies for aviation biofuel research and development. Generally, the ReLASPSe method is applicable to priority setting across a variety of disciplines. In particular, the integration of life cycle assessment makes the method well-suited for strategic planning for innovative and sustainable technologies.
University of Virginia, Department of Systems Engineering, PHD, 2016
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