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Module 6 – Industrial Ecologists Introduction to Industrial Ecology Robert Ayres Overview Background and definition Major themes in industrial ecology (IE) Authors contributing to this volume Case studies Summary and conclusion Background of Industrial Ecology

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module 6 industrial ecologists

Module 6 – Industrial Ecologists

Introduction to Industrial Ecology

Robert Ayres

  • Background and definition
  • Major themes in industrial ecology (IE)
  • Authors contributing to this volume
  • Case studies
  • Summary and conclusion
historical views on population and growth
Historical Views on Population and Growth
  • Cornucopians: Those who favor extreme technology and growth. (Herman Kahn, the Hudson Institute
  • Cowboys: Those who favor the ‘endless frontier’ viewpoint. (Boulding)
  • Spaceship Economy: Those who see the world as possessing finite resources.
  • Belief that technology will solve all problems.
  • Given a reasonably free market, technology can generally be depended on to find a substitute for almost any scarce material resource input (except for energy itself.)
  • Resource scarcity seems to be a non-issue.
  • There will always be virgin lands to tame and exploit for human consumption.
spaceship economy
Spaceship Economy
  • Advocates believe in the importance of mutual cooperation and conservation
  • They agree that technology has positive potential but does not ensure sustainability

Minimizing Environmental Impact

  • The IPAT Equation:

(Environmental) Impact = P * GP * IG where:

P = Population

GP = Per capita GNP (Affluence)

IG = Environmental impact per unit of [GP] (Technology)

(Graedel and Allenby, 5)


Minimizing Environmental Impact

  • Population is a social, not a technological issue
  • Standard of living (as expressed by per capita GDP) can be expected to continue rising slightly
  • Reducing [IG] offers the best hope for reducing global environmental impact, “transition to sustainable development”

(Graedel and Allenby, 8)


Industry – Environment Relationship

  • Past: REMEDIATION of effects of poor waste disposal methods
  • Present: CONTROLS on toxics, emissions
  • Future: DESIGN for benevolent interaction between industrial and environmental systems

Yesterday’s Need + Yesterday’s Solution = Today’s Problem

(Graedel and Allenby, xvii and 9)

industrial ecology
Industrial Ecology
  • Seeks the essential integration of human systems into natural systems
  • Minimizes energy and materials usage
  • Minimizes the ecological impact of human activity to levels that natural systems can sustainably absorb
industrial ecology12
Industrial Ecology
  • Is a deliberate, rational effort to achieve and perpetuate “a desirable carrying capacity” – i.e. a sustainable high quality of life for all;
  • Considers industrial systems as integral with and interdependent on the systems around them;
  • Seeks to “optimize the total materials cycle”;
  • Involves resources, energy, AND capital;
  • Rejects the concept of waste (instead: “residues”)

(Graedel and Allenby, 9)

major themes in ie
Major themes in IE
  • Systems (environmental, industrial, social)
  • Technology – Environment interactions
  • Issues of scale
  • Generic vs. specific IE
    • Life-cycle assessment
      • Specific – studies individual sectors of the economy, or individual products and processes
    • Design for Environment (DFE)
      • Generic – involves system-wide solutions based on life-cycle analysis
elements of ie
Elements of IE

Interactions between industry and environment

Environmental Metabolism

Industrial Metabolism

(Studied by environmental scientists)

(Studied by industrial engineers)

Industrial Ecology

(Graedel and Allenby, 11)

system types
System Types
  • Type I: “Linear” – Large flows of energy and material both in and out; flow from one stage to the next virtually independent of all other flows
  • Type II: “Quasicyclic” – Feedback and cycling loops develop as a response to scarcity; flows within the system large while input and output are small. Still not sustainable – “running down,” increasing entropy
  • Type III: “Cyclic” – Complete recycling of resources across multiple scales; energy input (solar) is used tomaintain organization, combat entropy (Review Peterson, Chapter 5 on system resilience)

(Graedel and Allenby, 93 – 95)

trends in technology
Trends in Technology
  • Dematerialization
  • Materials substitution
  • Decarbonization
  • Computerization of information and technology

(Graedel and Allenby, 22)

technology environment interactions
Technology – Environment Interactions
  • Biomass combustion
  • Crop production
  • Domestic animals
  • Fossil fuel production and use
  • Disposal of residues
  • Industrial manufacturing processes
  • Built environment

(Graedel and Allenby, 25-29)

issues of scale
Issues of Scale
  • Global
    • Global climate change; ozone depletion; loss of habitat; reduction in biodiversity
  • Regional
    • Surface water chemistry changes; soil degradation; precipitation acidity; visibility; herbicides and pesticides
  • Local
    • Photochemical smog; groundwater pollution; radionuclides; toxics in sludge; oil spills; toxics in sediments; hazardous waste sites

(Graedel and Allenby, 37 – 47)

specific ie life cycle assessment
Specific IE – Life-Cycle Assessment
  • Inventory Analysis: Identifies (1) levels and types of energy and material inputs to an industrial system; (2) resultant environmental releases.
  • Impact Analysis: Identifies and quantifies the relationship between the outputs of the industrial system and effects in the external world.
  • Improvement Analysis: Identifies and describes the needs and opportunities in the system for a reduction in environmental impacts. Called DFE in its implementation phase.

(Graedel and Allenby, 109)

generic ie design for environment
Generic IE – Design for Environment
  • Long-term aspect of IE (short term goal of IE is pollution prevention)
    • Deals with products and processes prior to their introduction
    • Typical actions:
      • Development of modularity
      • Minimization of materials diversity
      • Process substitutions
  • Environmental issues become strategic in the same sense that economic issues currently are.

(Graedel and Allenby, 308)

generic ie design for environment21
Generic IE – Design For Environment
  • Structural mechanisms involved:
    • Standardized components lists
    • Standard purchasing contracts
    • Customer specifications and standards (i.e. changing the customer’s expectations)
    • Corporate environmental management structures (acknowledgement of the strategic importance of environmental issues)
    • Product-specific DFE applications (e.g. data collection, rule sets, checklists)

(Graedel and Allenby, 309 – 310)

contributing authors

Contributing Authors:

Iddo Wernick

Stefan Bringezu

Fritz Balkau

Robert U. Ayres

iddo wernick
Iddo Wernick
  • Industrial ecology should embrace the strategy of minimizing the use of materials resources and disturbance to natural systems
  • Dematerialization is possible through efficient design of structures, systematic recovery of materials
iddo wernick24
Iddo Wernick
  • Use of land should be monitored by a sustainable process index or ecological footprint, taking into account the quality of the land using the net primary production
  • Design of the built environment should consider the interface with nature, the model provided by nature, and the direct use of natural systems
stefan bringezu
Stefan Bringezu

Increased resource efficiency utilizing:

  • Materials Intensity per Service Unit (MIPS)
  • Integrated Resource Management (IRM)
fritz balkau
Fritz Balkau
  • Use of Integrated Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
  • Definition of industrial ecology = the study of material and energy flows, population dynamics, and the operational rules and interrelationships of the entire production system
robert u ayres
Robert U. Ayres
  • Takes a ‘spaceship’ approach
  • Currently, there are no plausible technological substitutes for:
    • Climatic stability
    • Stratospheric ozone
    • Air
    • Water
    • Topsoil
    • Vegetation
    • Species diversity

These should be seen as nonrenewable resources

robert u ayres28
Robert U. Ayres
  • Degradation of the Earth’s life support systems are virtually irreversible in our lifetime.
  • Total loss in each case may prove potentially lethal for the human race.
robert u ayres29
Robert U. Ayres
  • Criticizes those who share an over-optimistic viewpoint on technology and those who believe in infinite resources
  • Cites the new environmental problems created by technological answers such as:
    • Nuclear power/Chernobyl/Three Mile Island
    • Hydrologic power/dams
robert u ayres30
Robert U. Ayres
  • We must minimize our wastes
  • The ability of the environment to neutralize or recycle industrial wastes into nutrients is also a kind of natural resource, known as ‘assimilative capacity.’
  • Bioaccumulation: toxic materials are entering our food stream as we release industrial effluents into our environment.
robert u ayres31
Economic growth may be illusory as it keeps up with a growing world population.

Does not take into account the loss of irreplaceable environmental resources such as fertile land and healthy rivers, e.g.: the Ganges (at right) and the Hudson.

Robert U. Ayres
robert u ayres32
Robert U. Ayres
  • The global community should reduce anthropogenic interference with natural systems.
  • This will not only favor ecosystems, but will ensure the survival of the human species as well.
  • The techniques of Industrial Ecology can combine technology and nature in a harmonious, sustainable manner.
robert u ayres33
Robert U. Ayres
  • Focuses on emissions from the built environment and establishes strategies for their eventual elimination
  • Recycling will reduce mass materials movement, save energy in production versus virgin resources
importance of renewability
Importance of renewability

“Every ton of metal that is reused,

remanufactured, or recycled—or whose use is

avoided by more efficient design—replaces a

ton that would otherwise have to be mined

and smelted, with all of the intermediate

energy and material requirements associated

with those activities” -Ayres from text

robert u ayres35
Robert U. Ayres

Causes of Environmental Damage:

  • Impacts of wastes produced in extracting and manufacturing materials for construction
  • Consumption of fuel by the built environment
environmental impact emissions
Environmental Impact: Emissions

Extraction emissions

  • Dust (grinding)
  • Combustion Wastes (fossil fuel usage)

Manufacturing emissions

  • Fuel Consumption (from all materials)
fuel consumption of materials
Fuel Consumption of Materials

Portland Cement: (1993)

  • Consumed 12 MMT of fuel
  • Produced 66 MMT of Portland Cement
  • One ton of carbon dioxide emitted per ton produced, or 66 MMT
fuel consumption of materials38
Fuel Consumption of Materials

Brick and Tile: (1993)

  • Consumed 2 MMT of fuel
  • Produced 9 MMT of brick and tile
  • 0.55 tons of carbon dioxide emitted per ton produced, or 5.1 MMT
fuel consumption of materials39
Fuel Consumption of Materials

Glass: (1993)

  • Consumed between 3 and 4 MMT of fuel
  • Produced 15 MMT of glass
  • One ton of carbon dioxide emitted per ton produced, or 15 MMT
fuel consumption of materials40
Fuel Consumption of Materials

Calcined Gypsum: (1993)

  • Produced 18 MMT of plaster wallboard
  • 0.167 tons of carbon dioxide emitted per ton produced, or 3 MMT
fuel consumption of materials41
Fuel Consumption of Materials

Steel: (1993)

  • Consumed fuel in many ways—hard to quantify
  • 1.1 tons of carbon dioxide emitted per ton of steel produced, plus 1.1 tons of over burden, and 1.5 tons of concentration waste
case studies
Case Studies
  • Indigo Development
  • Novo Nordisk, Kalundborg, Denmark
  • ChemCity, South Africa
  • Others for Consideration
indigo development
Indigo Development
  • Indigo functions as an action-oriented think tank linking the conceptual design of our innovations with strategic plans for implementation
  • Works on sustainable towns, sustainable agriculture, green chemistry and eco-industrial parks
indigo development44
Indigo Development

The transition to sustainable societies requires

design at the level of:

  • Products, services
  • Business organizations/missions/strategies
  • NGOs and grassroots strategies
  • Societal institutions and policies
  • Community and regional planning
  • Materials and energy flows
  • Facilities, infrastructure and processes
indigo development45
Indigo Development

Emphasizes incorporating these tools into overall

project design:

  • Industrial metabolism
  • Urban footprint
  • Dynamic input-output model
  • Life-cycle assessment
  • Design for environment
  • Pollution prevention
  • Product life extension and the service economy
novo nordisk kalundborg denmark

Novo Nordisk, Kalundborg, Denmark

“Behaving in a socially responsible manner is an integral part of our Triple Bottom Line commitment to sustainable development.”

Triple Bottom Line = Economics, Society, Environment

novo nordisk
Novo Nordisk
  • A global pharmaceutical company
  • Exhibits a strong commitment to environmental and bioethics
  • Recognized the competitive advantage of developing biologically based industrial materials termed Novozymes
novo nordisk48
Novo Nordisk

The Novozymes (enzymes):

  • Are biodegradable
  • Function best in mild conditions, requiring up to 1/3 less energy than their synthetic counterparts
  • Used in detergent, fabric, food processing, pulp and paper, leather, industrial cleaning and agricultural applications
chemcity south africa
ChemCity, South Africa
  • An eco-industrial park designed by Sasol Chemical Industries
  • Provides an exchange of chemical and non-chemical by-products among the industries in the region
  • Features a ‘business hive’ to inspire the growth of new Sasol enterprises
  • Park building materials will utilize fly ash outputs from Sasol’s coal gasification process.
  • Landscaping will feature herbs that can be used for extraction of essential oils, such as lavender and jasmine.
others for consideration
Others for Consideration
  • Styria, Austria’s Recycling Network
    • Composed of a complex network of exchanges among over 50 facilities
  • Xerox Asset Recycle Management Program
    • Defines its mission as ‘achieving 100% recyclability of all manufactured parts and assemblies
  • Chaparral Steel
    • Relies on recycled steel as its feedstock
summary and conclusions
Summary and Conclusions
  • Materials selection
  • Lessons for Construction Ecology
materials selection
Materials Selection
  • Choose abundant, nontoxic, nonregulated materials where possible. If toxics are required, generate on site instead of shipping.
  • Choose natural rather than synthetic materials where possible.
  • Design for minimum use of materials in products, processes, and services.
  • Obtain the majority of materials from the recycling stream in preference to virgin materials or raw material extraction.

(Graedel and Allenby, 240)

lessons for construction ecology
Lessons for Construction Ecology
  • Optimize resource productivity
  • Minimize emissions
  • Develop management systems for implementation
  • Maximize rematerialization
  • Improve passive design
  • Use hyper-efficient appliances