The PIOLab: Building global physical input-output tables in a virtual laboratory

Wieland, Hanspeter ORCID: and Lenzen, Manfred ORCID: and Geschke, Arne ORCID: and Fry, Jacob ORCID: and Wiedenhofer, Dominik ORCID: and Eisenmenger, Nina ORCID: and Schenk, Johannes ORCID: and Giljum, Stefan ORCID: (2020) The PIOLab: Building global physical input-output tables in a virtual laboratory. Ecological Economic Papers, 36. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna.


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Informed environmental-economic policy decisions require a solid understanding of the economy’s biophysical basis. Global physical input-output tables ( gPIOTs) collate a vast array ofinformation on the world economy’s physical structure and its interdependence with the environment. However, building gPIOTs requires dealing with mismatched and incompleteprimary data with high uncertainties, which makes it a time-consuming and labor-intensive endeavor. We address this challenge by introducing the PIOLab: A virtual laboratory for building gPIOTs. It represents the newest branch of the Industrial Ecology virtual laboratory (IELab) concept, a cloud-computing platform and collaborative research environment through which participants can use each other’s resources to assemble individual input-output tables targeting specific research questions. To overcome the lack of primary data, the PIOLab builds extensively upon secondary data derived from a variety of models commonly used in Industrial Ecology. We use the case of global iron-steel supply chains to describe the architecture of the PIOLab and highlight its analytical capabilities. A major strength of the gPIOT is its ability to provide mass-balanced indicators on both apparent/direct and embodied/indirect flows, for regions and disaggregated economic sectors. We present the first gPIOTs for 10 years (2008-2017), covering32 regions, 30 processes and 39 types of iron/steel flows. Diagnostic tests of the data reconciliation show a good level of adherence between raw data and the values realized in the gPIOT. We conclude with elaborating on how the PIOLab will be extended to cover other materials and energyflows.

Item Type: Paper
Keywords: Industrial ecology, material flow analysis, physical input-output tables, virtual laboratories, environmental input-output analysis, footprint, consumption-based indicators, iron, steel
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Ecological Economics
Depositing User: Verena Konrad
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2021 09:14
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2021 09:14
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