Sustainable Supply Planning of By-product Minerals: A Case Study on Indium
Clean energy technologies represent a promising solution to the global warming challenge. However, many clean energy technologies depend on some rare materials, and concerns about demand of the materials have been raised recently. To make the concerns getting even worse, the materials are usually by-products of base metals, thus the supplies highly rely on the demand and production of the base metals. Indium is one of these materials. It is critical for two emerging clean energy applications, that is, copper indium gallium selenide photovoltaic, and light-emitting diode lighting. Like other rare materials, indium is also a by-product of base metal, mainly zinc. Therefore, demand and supply analysis of indium is essential for sustainable deployment of the clean energy technologies. In this dissertation, supply and demand of indium is analyzed for continuous supply of the material and supply planning of the material is proposed. First, supply and demand gap is analyzed under different energy and technology development scenarios using a dynamic material flow system approach. An advanced system dynamics model is constructed by considering: i) current and future indium demand sources; and ii) market/price mediated supply and demand relationships of both zinc and indium. Having recognized the imbalance of indium supply and demand, global strategic level production planning of the materials is proposed using a mixed integer linear programming model. In addition to production and capacity expansion planning, other operational decisions in the supply chain, such as transportation and inventory are also considered. Finally, indium production quantity decision is analyzed in producer’s perspective under competitive market condition. A Cournot competition model is developed, and equilibrium quantities are drawn in four cases, which exclusively capture all possible scenarios. The equilibrium is analyzed numerically and compared with the decision under monopoly market condition. The findings from this dissertation contribute to suggesting a guidance to the stakeholders for the sustainable supply of indium, and ultimately to lead the stable deployment of cleaner energy technologies.
Zhao, Purdue University.
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