Community Portal

Reclassify EW-MFA material catalog

Created on Monday 23 November 2020, 17:55

Back to task list
  • ID
  • Project
    Metabolism of Cities Data Hub
  • Status
  • Priority
  • Type
    General review work
  • Assigned to
    Paul Hoekman
  • Subscribers
    Paul Hoekman

You are not logged in

Log In Register

Please join us and let's build things, together!


We have the Eurostat MFA catalog as our basic materials catalog (see page 124). However, technically speaking this has some flaws. Most importantly, the catalog mixes activity/phase within the material catalog. For instance, "heavy metals" is listed twice - once under Emissions to Water and once in Emissions to Air. Both of these main categories are disputable in and of themselves, as they simply state when a material is being registered, instead of focusing on what it is. Instead, it would make much more sense to have "heavy metals" only listed once, under "Metallic minerals". There's more stuff like that. We should have a coherent materials list, primarily based on the Eurostat list (as it is widely used and it makes sense for MFA work), but without mixing activities with materials.

Discussion and updates

New task was created

Task was assigned to Paul Hoekman

Status change: Open → In Progress

Ohhhhhkay so this was somewhat done. See the list. There are now six main categories:

MF1 Biomass - no change
MF2 Metallic minerals - HEAVY METALS was added here, and LEAD was moved there and some other heavy metals were added. Also it was changed for gross ores to metallic minerals. Will need to be discussed/refined later but for now this is most usable.
MF3 Non-metallic minerals - no change
MF4 Fossil energy materials/carriers - the gas/liquid section was extended with actual specific fuels. I tried to get the most common ones, at least that I have seen. Let's see if this holds up.
MF5 Substances -- this is new. It has most substances like CO2 and NOx, but also some debatable ones NMVOC and POP, let's see if we move them later.
MF6 Other -- primarily water, electricity, sewage sludge (or better in biomass??), and two waste categories: municipal solid waste and hazardous waste.

In general it seems much more logical in this structure. What I feel iffy about is mostly the waste categories. How will we define this? Organic waste -> should we not just mark BIOMASS as a waste flow? No sense to create a whole new "material" for it. But yeah the mixed ones are not sensible anywhere hence a new group for them ---> confusion confusion.

I also feel that this "master table" should have a MF7 Products section. In there we throw a bunch of very regular product groups. The idea being that this table can cater to 95% of the bottom-up collected data. Those who want a single exhaustive catalog because a) that is most important or b) their data comes pre-classified using some other catalog, can still do so. But all those other datasets out there that are just about one or a few materials/products and don't use any referencing system can be reclassified using this single catalog. Much easier for our data processors to work with, and if we have it in a single catalog we can also work with it much more easily. Products we could add include Plastics, Electronics, Glass, Vehicles, etc. The kind of stuff that's actually reported on quite frequently.

I'd like to try this particular catalog out with the first group of data processors to see how it goes. We can move stuff around later and move data along with it -- shouldn't be too hard. Feedback very welcome.

In an attempt to classify existing datasets in our system it becomes obvious that we do need a group with products. I have added a few items there and will expand them as we go along. At least when recording the initial instructions we can take them into account. I have renamed this the "Energy, materials and products catalog". The Eurostat catalog will be re-loaded separately for those data points already using this catalog. I am marking this as completed for now but would like to invite any feedback - and we can revisit at any time although it may make sense to let it run in a structure similar to this for the duration of the current course.

Status change: In Progress → Completed