Matériaux & Techniques
Volume 102, Number 5, 2014
Matériaux et société / Social value of materials (SAM8)
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||24 October 2014|
Towards consistent data characterization in material flow analysis
Vienna University of Technology Vienna, Austria
Received: 17 June 2014
Accepted: 15 September 2014
The material consumption of societies can be balanced in national resource budgets (NRB). A NRB is the application of Material Flow Analysis (MFA) to defined regions, such as nations (see, for example, the paper by Buchner et al. ). NRB can support decision-making in resource management in national policies and businesses, i.e. regarding security of resource supply, security of waste disposal, and design of recycling strategies. To a vast degree, the precision of NRB is dependent on the available information base. Most often, this information base consists of cross-disciplinary data, that is, unstructured data from various disciplines that come in different forms and from heterogeneous sources such as official trade statistics, scientific findings and consumer behavior studies. Until now, there is no common understanding about data and information in MFA. In this study we regard data and information from the perspective of a material flow analyst and propose (i) a terminology for communication about MFA input data; and (ii) a database analysis concept to describe and structure MFA databases. This MFA data concept is illustrated in a case study of a national Aluminium budget. The findings indicate that meta-information can help to structure MFA databases, and can contribute to improved system understanding. This study intends to promote the transparent documentation and precise communication of MFA input data and can be the foundation for better data interpretation and comprehensive MFA data quality assessment.
Key words: Material flow analysis / national resource budget / MFA data / database analysis / data characterization / data quality
© EDP Sciences, 2014
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