Modeling has had profound impacts on culture, such as the Copernican revolution over five hundred years ago, which debunked the belief that the Sun orbited the Earth. Copernicus (and those who followed) showed it was far simpler and more accurate to model the movement of the sun and planets if the Sun was at the center of the solar system. Today, with Covid-19, we turn to infection models to find the best actions to minimize sickness and death, while limiting economic damage from prolonged shutdowns.
For the typical models ECMC develops, we encode our understanding of physics, chemistry, resource availability, costs, and practical experience into math equations within computer software. Today, computer spreadsheet and database applications allow incredibly complex calculations to proceed in the blink of an eye. This allows us to consider complex calculations with many inputs, scenarios, and results, which would have been unthinkable in the days of pencil and paper.
Almost every complex project or item of manufacture is modeled before it is built, often both physically in 3-D graphics, in addition to its operational demands, such as material and energy flows, costs, revenues, profitability, and time required.
Ed has developed computerized models since the beginning of his career, starting with an undergraduate chemical process assignment, with the model coded on punch cards (a method of computer program input before today’s keyboards and screens). Subsequent models spanned a wide range - oil refining processes, synthetic fuels production emissions, automotive catalyst chemical reactions, gas turbine emissions, groundwater cleanup documentation, phosphate ore rail car loading, and most recently, a novel wastewater treatment system, and municipal water/wastewater energy efficiency initiatives.
Two key skill sets are required to model: 1) Expertise in computational software applications, such as spreadsheets and databases, along with word processing, so the results can be documented; 2) Understanding and applying the laws of science to what is being modeled.
The engineering services ECMC offers today center around models that help clients predict the outcome of proposed initiatives. In water and wastewater energy efficiency, modeling is key to predicting cost and energy savings, and directing the retrofit design efforts for the best outcome. To understand the effectiveness in slowing climate change, a spreadsheet model allows users test strategies and observe the resulting emissions impacts.