Within the project, a software tool for detailed description of the transfer and behaviour of chemicals in the environment was developed. This multimedia modelling software is designed for scenario-based analysis, allowing the user to set up and assess specific situations. By inserting certain parameter values and time-series data, the user can perform simulations and manage results. The model considers steady-state and dynamic conditions related to a sustainable living achievement and allow risk assessments to be made for a number of contaminants. The tool is a biosphere model containing six sub-systems for the environment : Atmosphere, freshwater, soil, plants, cow and man.
Models for the sub-systems have been developed as free-standing modules, containing parameters, time-dependent data and specific equations. Model data have been obtained from direct samples of surface water, air and soils or produced by models simulating the physical transport of pollutants in air and water.
The complex design of the software is presented in an easy-to-grasp package where the user is guided through a number of pages in order to define the scenario, selecting modules and contaminants involved. The user can input parameter data or and assign probability density functions, such as geometrical properties. Time dependent data is also inserted, such as solar radiation or precipitation. The six different modules are stored in a library and can be activated and combined for different types of scenarios when assembled into a scenario by a user. All simulations depend on the context description and choices of the users and different crops, landscapes and external factors give needs for different models to be used in the simulations. The transparency of the tool allows reviewing of the modules and the related equations.
The simulations are supported by deterministic or Monte Carlo simulation. A number of simulation parameters can be determined by the user, such as start and end time and number of simulations. The tool includes a complete set of functions for conducting uncertainty and sensitivity analysis, and identifying which parameters affect the simulation outputs the most. Also, sensitivity analysis is vital for managing risks such as avoiding worst case approaches, stating the limitations of the available knowledge or finding data gaps. The final output is a simulation report, containing a full description of the model, parameters, indata as well as output charts and tables.
The software was designed with an open platform to facilitate large-scale adopting, and a prototype model is available for downloading from the project website. The multimedia model has been implemented in the same commercial software as the PBPK modelling tool from the same project in order to enable integrated full chain assessments. The next step is to transform this prototype into a standardized model that can be introduced to the market and a larger number of stakeholders, which will be done in a following project called 4-FUN. The technology readiness level of the prototype thus reaches a level 6 on the TRL scale, according to the scope of the sixth framework programme, which provides public grant partial funding for R&D. After the process of standardization, there are numerous potential areas for application of this model, for instance certification of environmental and health scenarios within local authorities or certification of the environmental impact from industry production processes.