Using dynamic stock & flow models for global and regional material and substance flow analysis in the field of industrial ecology
The example of a global copper flow model
Models of anthropogenic metal cycles quantify where metals are introduced into economies, how they are used, where they are stored and how they are recycled or discarded. Despite the rising amount of publications and research work in the field of Material Flow Analysis (MFA) and Substance Flow Analysis (SFA) in recent years, dynamic modeling approaches of anthropogenic metal flows have been heavily underrepresented. In this paper, we present a general methodology to simulate metal cycles over time based on a system dynamics approach. Using the example of a global copper flow model, we present the potential outcomes of dynamic metal cycles including the results of a stochastic uncertainty analysis of the recycling efficiency of postconsumer copper scrap. In conclusion, we discuss the potential to enhance the material flow models and to link these cycles with further system dynamics models. For this purpose, we shortly present several ongoing projects.