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2023 ECE TUC Summer School on Data Analysis

July 13-14, 2023


Decarbonizing OCP: Towards Industrial Decarbonization via Robust Solar Capacity Expansion


I will present our collaboration with OCP, one of the world's largest fertilizer producers, to decarbonize its electricity supply through the installation of solar panels and batteries. We develop an optimization framework that minimizes OCP's time-discounted investment cost plus the cost of satisfying its remaining demand via the national grid. We immunize our model against deviations between forecast and realized solar generation output via a combination of robust and distributionally robust optimization, to account, respectively, for variability in daily solar generation and in seasonal weather patterns induced by climate change. OCP is currently designing its renewable investment strategy, using insights gleaned from our optimization model, and has pledged to invest over 12.3 billion USD in its green initiative by 2027, a subset of which involves decarbonization. Under a 2 billion USD investment, the proposed methodology reduces the carbon emissions which arise from OCP's electricity needs by 95% while generating a net present value of 200 million USD over 20 years. The methodology could be applied to decarbonize other industrial consumers in a financially sustainable fashion, which is imperative in the developing world.

About the Speaker

Vassilis Digalakis Jr is an assistant professor in the Information Systems and Operations Management Department at HEC Paris. He completed his Ph.D. in Operations Research at the Operations Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2023, advised by Prof. Dimitris Bertsimas. His research develops analytics, machine learning, and optimization methodologies for data science problems with characteristics such as large volume (of data or decisions or both) and variability (owing to various types of uncertainty), and encompasses collaborations with industry partners in the sustainability and healthcare spaces, seeking to reap the benefits of large-scale analytics in these settings. He has  collaborated, among others, with OCP, the largest company in Morocco and one of the world's largest producers of phosphate and phosphate-based products, to develop an optimization framework that guides their intended $1Bn investment in solar panels and batteries; and with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help them decide on locations for COVID-19 mass vaccination centers and state-level allocation policy.

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