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Industrial Ecology


Forward-looking research and practice. Key concepts (Garner & Keoleian 1995) ... Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (journal of SETAC) Ecological Economics ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Industrial Ecology

Industrial Ecology
A bit of history
  • In 1865 Karl Marx is the first to apply the term
    Metabolism to human society and labour
  • In 1989, Robert Ayres developed concept of
    Industrial Metabolism Industry
    metabolizes materials and energy and transforms
    them into useful products, wastes and
  • In 1989, Robert Frosch and Nicholas Gallopoulos
    developed the concept of Industrial
    Ecosystems The notion creates an analogy
    between biological and industrial food webs.
    In an industrial ecosystem, waste product by
    one company should be used as a resource
    for another.
  • In 1991, the National Academy of Science hosts
    Symposium on Industrial Ecology
  • In 1994, the National Academy of Engineering
    publishes The Greening of Industrial
    Ecosystems (Eds. Braden Allenby Deanna
  • 1997, publication of the first issue of the
    International Journal of Industrial Ecology
  • 2001, foundation of the International Society of
    Industrial Ecology (http//
  • Both Metaphors were also independently
    developed and used in other countries, like
    Switzerland (Baccini Brunner, 1991), in Belgium
    (Billen et al., 1983) and in Japan (Watanabe,

Definition of Industrial Ecology
  • There is currently no single definition that is
    generally accepted, even though all
    containsimilar attributes with different
    emphases. One that I quite like is the following
  • The study of the flows of materials and energy in
    industrial and consumer activities, of the
    effects of these flows on the environment, and of
    the influences of economic, political,
    regulatory, and social factors on the flow, use
    and transformation of resources
  • (Robert White, 1994, in the preface of The
    Greening of Industrial Ecosystems)
  • Whats ecological about IE?
  • It looks to natural ecosystems as models for
    industrial activity (e.g. nutrient cycling)
  • It places human / industrial activity in the
    context of the larger ecosystem that support it
    (environmental impact of human activities,
    carrying capacity, ecological resilience)

Solar Radiation (Teff 6000K mainly UV, optical
and IR)
Earths Radiation(Teff 300K mainly IR)
The BIG picture
Needs Wants
Source of Materials Energy Water Land
Sink for Wastes Emissions
Industrial production and consumption systems use
the environment as source of resources and sink
for wastes and emissions
Methodological Foundation of Industrial Ecology
  • Core elements (Lifset Graedel 2002)
  • The biological analogy
  • The use of a systems perspective
  • The role of technological change
  • The role of companies
  • Dematerialization and eco-efficiency
  • Forward-looking research and practice
  • Key concepts (Garner Keoleian 1995)
  • Analogies to natural systems
  • Systems analysis
  • Material and energy flows and
  • Multidisciplinary approach
  • Linear vs. cyclical systems

Systems Theory and Analysis
Definition of system An organized assembly of
components that are united and regulated by
interaction or interdependence to accomplish a
set of specific functions. The system itself is
separated from its environment by the system
boundaries. Most systems are open,i.e. they
interact with their environment.
  • Systems can have emergent properties (system is
    more than the sum of its parts)
  • ? Impossible to understand system by analyzing
    components independently
  • Systems can be self-regulating and
    self-organizing (feedback loops)
  • ? Impossible to control system by simple
  • Systems can only be optimized on system level
  • ? Impossible to optimize system by optimizing
    components (sub-systems) individually

Let us now take a systems look at beverage
containers Consider a glass bottle, an aluminum
can and a PET bottle. Q Which is the
environmentally preferable material?
Material choice for beverage containers
Question Which container has the lowest
environmental impact?
Material production
Container manufacturing
Use distribution
Recycling or disposal
Material choice for beverage containers
Material choice for beverage containers
Production of Lime-Soda Glass
Material choice for beverage containers
Production of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
Amorphous PET
solid state polymerization
melt polymerization
crude oil extraction refining
natural gas extraction processing
steam reforming
bottle grade PET
natural gas
bishydroxyethyl terephthalate
methanol production
ester interchange
direct esterification
ethylene glycol
acetic acid production
terephthalic acid
dimethyl- terephthalate
catalytic reforming
ethylene glycol production
acetic acid
Purified terephthalic acid production
Dimethyl terephthalate production
p-xylene separation
Material choice for beverage containers
Environmental impact indicator Primary energy
Material choice for beverage containers
Materials can not be compared on a mass basis.
Definition of Functional Unit Containing 1 liter
of beverage
  • Reference flows
  • 40.2 gram of aluminum cans
  • 44.0 gram of PET bottles
  • 433.3 gram of glass bottles

Material choice for beverage containers
How much energy is required to produce the
beverage containers?
How much energy is required to transport the
beverage containers?
Material choice for beverage containers
How much energy is saved through beverage
container recycling?
Material choice for beverage containers
  • Based on 500 km transportation
  • Based on current recycling rates

Material choice for beverage containers
Products create environmental impacts at all
stages of their life cycles? It is important to
consider the entire life cycle of products
Course Content and Grading
  • Course Content
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Material Flows in the Economy
  • Material and Substance Flow Analysis (MFA, SFA)
  • Sustainable use of materials (Eco-efficiency
  • Supply Loops (reuse and recycling)
  • Industrial Ecosystems
  • Industrial Ecology and Policy
  • Industrial Ecology and Business (Environmental
    product design)
  • Industrial Ecology and Business (Environmental
    marketing and labeling)
  • Sustainable Consumption
  • Grading
  • 4 Assignments (4 x 20)
  • Class participation (20)

Books and Journals
  • Some Books on Industrial Ecology (IE)
  • IE and Global Change, Socolow et al. (Eds.),
    1994, Cambridge University Press
  • Industrial Ecology, Graedel Allenby,1995
    2002, Prentice Hall
  • IE Towards Closing the Materials Cycle, Ayres
    Ayres, 1996, Edward Elgar
  • IE Policy Framework and Implementation,
    Allenby,1998, Prentice Hall
  • Factor Four, von Weizsäcker, Lovins Lovins,
    1998, Kogan Page
  • Natural Capitalism, Hawken, Lovins Lovins,
    2000, Back Bay Books
  • A Handbook of Industrial Ecology, Ayres Ayres
    (Eds.), 2002, Edward Elgar
  • Cradle to Cradle, McDonough Braungart, 2002,
    North Point Press
  • Some Journals covering Industrial Ecology
  • Journal of Industrial Ecology (e-journal)
  • Int. Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
  • Journal of Cleaner Production (Science Direct)
  • Resources, Conservation and Recycling (Science
  • Environmental Science and Technology (e-journal)
  • Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (journal
    of SETAC)
  • Ecological Economics (Science Direct)

Homework for tomorrow, September 26Spend 1-2
hours on the internet in order to find
  • The recycling rates for glass, plastic and
    aluminum beverage containers
  • The challenges of recycling these three
    container types