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The SIM-VOLATILE model is a technology adoption model at the population level. The technology, in this model, is called Volatile Fatty Acid Platform (VFAP) and it is in the frame of the circular economy. The technology is considered an emerging technology and it is in the optimization phase. Through the adoption of VFAP, waste-treatment plants will be able to convert organic waste into high-end products rather than focusing on the production of biogas. Moreover, there are three adoption/investment scenarios as the technology enables the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), single-cell oils (SCO), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). However, due to differences in the processing related to the products, waste-treatment plants need to choose one adoption scenario.
In this simulation, there are several parameters and variables. Agents are heterogeneous waste-treatment plants that face the problem of circular economy technology adoption. Since the technology is emerging, the adoption decision is associated with high risks. In this regard, first, agents evaluate the economic feasibility of the emerging technology for each product (investment scenarios). Second, they will check on the trend of adoption in their social environment (i.e. local pressure for each scenario). Third, they combine these two economic and social assessments with an environmental assessment which is their environmental decision-value (i.e. their status on green technology). This combination gives the agent an overall adaptability fitness value (detailed for each scenario). If this value is above a certain threshold, agents may decide to adopt the emerging technology, which is ultimately depending on their predominant adoption probabilities and market gaps.
The purpose of the model is to explore the influence of actor behaviour, combined with environment and business model design, on the survival rates of Industrial Symbiosis Networks (ISN), and the cash flows of the agents. We define an ISN to be robust, when it is able to run for 10 years, without falling apart due to leaving agents.
The model simulates the implementation of local waste exchange collaborations for compost production, through the ISN implementation stages of awareness, planning, negotiation, implementation, and evaluation.
One central firm plays the role of waste processor in a local composting initiative. This firm negotiates with other firms to become a supplier of their organic residual streams. The waste suppliers in the model can decide to join the initiative, or to have the waste brought to the external waste incinerator. The focal point of the model are the company-level interactions during the implementation or ending of synergies.