Center for Industrial Ecology

Coimbra, Portugal

Center for Industrial Ecology

Coimbra, Portugal
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Chertow M.,Center for Industrial Ecology | Chertow M.,Formerly at the Center for Industrial Ecology | Miyata Y.,Enhesa S.A. | Miyata Y.,Formerly at the Center for Industrial Ecology
Business Strategy and the Environment | Year: 2011

Are companies better off acting collectively in sharing resources, such that one company's waste becomes another company's feedstock, or is it strategically preferable to act individually to minimize resource flows? Eleven enterprises on Oahu, HI, were found to be exchanging nine different materials, constituting previously undocumented industrial symbiosis collaboration, anchored by a coal-fired power plant in the Campbell Industrial Park. The environmental and economic performance of eight companies exchanging six of these materials is assessed based on price and quantity data collected during interviews with the participants. The largest environmental benefits were found to be reduced landfilling and conservation of primary materials, including 40 million gallons of fresh water and approximately 17800 tons of coal annually. The research finds that symbiotic solutions, when made visible, are often preferable, especially on an island. Indeed, company managers who fail to consider symbiotic solutions for resource issues risk overlooking the most effective strategic options. © 2010 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.


Nuss P.,Center for Industrial Ecology | Nuss P.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Chen W.-Q.,Center for Industrial Ecology | Chen W.-Q.,Chinese Institute of Urban Environment | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2016

Metals are used in numerous products and are sourced via increasingly global and complex supply chains. Monetary input-output tables (MIOT) and network analysis can be applied to intersectoral supply chains and used to analyze structural aspects. We first provide a concise review of the literature related to network analysis applied to MIOTs. On the basis of a physical input-output table (PIOT) table of aluminum in the United States economy in 2007, we identify key sectors and discuss the overall topology of the aluminum network using tools of network analysis. Sectors highly dependent on metal product inputs or sales are identified using weighted degree centrality and their hierarchical organization is explored via clustering. Betweenness centrality and random walk centrality (page rank) are explored as means to identify network bottlenecks and relative sector importance. Aluminum, even though dominated by uses in the automobile, beverage and containers, and construction industries, finds application in a wide range of sectors. Motor vehicle parts manufacturing relies on a large number of upstream and downstream suppliers to function. We conclude by analyzing structural aspects of a subnetwork for automobile manufacturing and discuss how the use of network analysis relates to current criticality analyses of metal and mineral resources. © 2016 American Chemical Society.


Ohno H.,Center for Industrial Ecology | Ohno H.,Tohoku University | Nuss P.,Center for Industrial Ecology | Nuss P.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2016

Metals have strongly contributed to the development of the human society. Today, large amounts of and various metals are utilized in a wide variety of products. Metals are rarely used individually but mostly together with other metals in the form of alloys and/or other combinational uses. This study reveals the intersectoral flows of metals by means of input-output (IO) based material flow analysis (MFA). Using the 2007 United States IO table, we calculate the flows of eight metals (i.e., manganese, chromium, nickel, molybdenum, niobium, vanadium, tungsten, and cobalt) and simultaneously visualize them as a network. We quantify the interrelationship of metals by means of flow path sharing. Furthermore, by looking at the flows of alloys into metal networks, the networks of the major metals iron, aluminum, and copper together with those of the eight alloying metals can be categorized into alloyed-, nonalloyed-(i.e., individual), and both mixed. The result shows that most metals are used primarily in alloy form and that functional recycling thereby requires identification, separation, and alloy-specific reprocessing if the physical properties of the alloys are to be retained for subsequent use. The quantified interrelation of metals helps us consider better metal uses and develop a sustainable cycle of metals. © 2016 American Chemical Society.


Eckelman M.J.,Northeastern University | Chertow M.R.,Center for Industrial Ecology
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2013

Purpose: The industrial ecosystem identified in and around the Campbell Industrial Park in Honolulu County, Hawai'i involves 11 facilities exchanging water, materials, and energy across an industrial cluster. This paper highlights the advantages of this arrangement using life cycle assessment to determine the energy and environmental costs and benefits of the existing pattern of exchanges. Methods: A consequential approach was used to evaluate each material substitution for four environmental impact categories: primary energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, acidification, and eutrophication. Each material exchange included avoided production and reduced use of virgin materials, any necessary pre-processing or transportation of local by-products, and avoided treatment or disposal of these by-products. Results and discussion: All exchanges exhibited positive net savings across all environmental impact categories, with the exceptions of waste oil and tire-derived fuel burned as substitutes for coal. The greatest savings occur as a result of sharing steam between a combined cycle fuel oil-fired cogeneration plant and a nearby refinery. In total, the environmental savings realized by this industrial cluster are significant, equivalent to 25 % of the state's policy goal for reducing the industrial component of GHG emissions over the next decade. The role of policy in supporting material and energy exchanges is also discussed as the central cluster of two power plants and two refineries share steam and water in part under regulatory requirements. Conclusions: The results show environmental benefits of the sharing of by-product resources accrued on a life cycle basis, while for the local context, the reduction of imported fuels and materials helps to reduce the external dependency of Oahu's remote island economy. The environmental benefits of materials exchanges are often ignored in energy policy, though, as in this case, they can represent considerable savings. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Meylan G.,Center for Industrial Ecology | Stauffacher M.,ETH Zurich | Krutli P.,ETH Zurich | Seidl R.,ETH Zurich | Spoerri A.,Ernst Basler Partner
Journal of Industrial Ecology | Year: 2015

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is one of the most popular methods of technical-environmental assessment for informing environmental policies, as, for instance, in municipal solid waste (MSW) management. Because MSW management involves many stakeholders with possibly conflicting interests, the implementation of an LCA-based policy can, however, be blocked or delayed. A stakeholder assessment of future scenarios helps identify conflicting interests and anticipate barriers of sustainable MSW management systems. This article presents such an approach for Swiss waste glass-packaging disposal, currently undergoing a policy review. In an online survey, stakeholders (N = 85) were asked to assess disposal scenarios showing different LCA-based eco-efficiencies with respect to their desirability and probability of occurrence. Scenarios with higher eco-efficiency than the current system are more desirable and considered more probable than those with lower eco-efficiency. A combination of inland recycling and downcycling to foam glass (insulation material) in Switzerland is desired by all stakeholders and is more eco-efficient than the current system. In contrast, institutions of MSW management, such as national and regional environmental protection agencies, judge a scenario in which nearly all cullet would be recycled in the only Swiss glass-packaging factory as more desirable than supply and demand stakeholders of waste glass-packaging. Such a scenario involves a monopsony rejected by many municipalities and scrap traders. Such an assessment procedure can provide vital information guiding the formulation of environmental policies. © 2014 by Yale University.


News Article | December 2, 2015
Site: phys.org

Without such efforts by policy-makers worldwide, the report warns, greenhouse gas emissions may double by the year 2050. The report is being released as leaders from nearly 200 countries gather in Paris to discuss a possible agreement on limiting carbon emissions. "Green Energy Choices: The Benefits, Risks, and Trade-Offs of Low-Carbon Technologies for Electricity Production," is a comprehensive comparison of the greenhouse gas mitigation potential for a number of alternative energy methods—including wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro. The International Resource Panel produced the report for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). "Renewables come out strong in terms of reducing pollution and offer us a way to keep pollution at bay from rising electricity demand," said Edgar Hertwich, director of Yale's Center for Industrial Ecology, professor of industrial sustainability, and member of the International Resource Panel. "If we continue with fossil fuel systems we will see pollution rise." Electric power generated by renewable energy sources causes substantially less pollution than energy generated from fossil fuels, the report says. Renewable electricity produces just 5% to 6% of the greenhouse gas emissions created by coal-fired energy plants, and 8% to 10% of those generated from gas-fired plants. The report also investigates damage from other types of pollution, such as particulate matter and toxic metals. Damage by such pollutants to the environment from renewables is 3 to 10 times lower than damage from fossil fuel based systems, the report says. As for health implications, the human health impacts from renewables are 10%-30% of those from state-of-the-art fossil fuel power. The report points out strengths and weaknesses for all methods of producing electricity. Offshore wind farms, for example, can produce energy for a long period of time, but they come with higher installation and maintenance costs than land-based wind farms. There also are concerns about bird and bat fatalities with wind technology, although there may be radar systems that can slow wind turbines as birds approach. The report also provides a closer look at the environmental impact of building roads and bringing in construction equipment to develop hydro power in Africa and South America; the land-use advantages of solar technology; and the costs of large-scale energy storage. "There are many surprises in this data, even for someone who has worked in this field for a while," said Hertwich. "I was surprised to see the toxic emissions data from coal mines, the information about mine runoff, and the long-term emissions to soil and water from coal mines." Similar emissions are caused by the iron, aluminum, and copper mines needed to produce material for renewable systems, Hertwich noted, but the massive scale of coal mining makes its emissions much more significant by comparison. Choosing the best technology to generate power—and picking the best sites for those projects—will have a dramatic impact on the global environment, according to the report. The report also urged leaders in government and the private sector to act with urgency. "The transition of energy systems takes 100 years," Hertwich said. "It's not something we can do by snapping our fingers. Renewables have been tremendously successful, and they're coming online a lot faster than people might have predicted."


Castanheira E.G.,University of Coimbra | Freire F.,University of Coimbra | Freire F.,Center for Industrial Ecology
IEEE International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology | Year: 2012

This paper presents a life-cycle (LC) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions assessment of biodiesel produced in Portugal, based on soybean cultivated in Latin-America. The implications of different cultivation systems and land use change (LUC) scenarios are assessed. Multifunctionality in the soybean biodiesel chain is also addressed, based on a sensitivity analysis to allocation approaches. The results show the importance of LUC on biodiesel GHG emissions but significant differences in the GHG balance have been observed for the alternative LUC and cultivation systems assessed. Degraded grassland should be preferably used for soybean cultivation. No-(reduced-) tillage systems have lower GHG emissions than the corresponding tillage systems. Multifunctionality is also an important issue since results are very sensitive to the approach adopted to treat co-products. © 2012 IEEE.


Pearce J.,Michigan Technological University | Albritton S.,Knowds.org | Grant G.,Center for Industrial Ecology | Steed G.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Zelenika I.,University of British Columbia
Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy | Year: 2012

The task of providing for basic human necessities such as food, water, shelter, and employment is growing as the world's population continues to expand amid climate destabilization. One of the greatest challenges to development and innovation is access to relevant knowledge for quick technological dissemination. However, with the rise and application of advanced information technologies there is a great opportunity for knowledge building, community in-teraction, innovation, and collaboration using various online platforms. This article examines the potential of a novel model to enable innovation for collaborative enterprise, learning, and appropriate technology development on a global scale. © 2012 Pearce et al.


PubMed | Center for Industrial Ecology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental science & technology | Year: 2016

Metals are used in numerous products and are sourced via increasingly global and complex supply chains. Monetary input-output tables (MIOT) and network analysis can be applied to intersectoral supply chains and used to analyze structural aspects. We first provide a concise review of the literature related to network analysis applied to MIOTs. On the basis of a physical input-output table (PIOT) table of aluminum in the United States economy in 2007, we identify key sectors and discuss the overall topology of the aluminum network using tools of network analysis. Sectors highly dependent on metal product inputs or sales are identified using weighted degree centrality and their hierarchical organization is explored via clustering. Betweenness centrality and random walk centrality (page rank) are explored as means to identify network bottlenecks and relative sector importance. Aluminum, even though dominated by uses in the automobile, beverage and containers, and construction industries, finds application in a wide range of sectors. Motor vehicle parts manufacturing relies on a large number of upstream and downstream suppliers to function. We conclude by analyzing structural aspects of a subnetwork for automobile manufacturing and discuss how the use of network analysis relates to current criticality analyses of metal and mineral resources.


PubMed | Center for Industrial Ecology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental science & technology | Year: 2016

Metals have strongly contributed to the development of the human society. Today, large amounts of and various metals are utilized in a wide variety of products. Metals are rarely used individually but mostly together with other metals in the form of alloys and/or other combinational uses. This study reveals the intersectoral flows of metals by means of input-output (IO) based material flow analysis (MFA). Using the 2007 United States IO table, we calculate the flows of eight metals (i.e., manganese, chromium, nickel, molybdenum, niobium, vanadium, tungsten, and cobalt) and simultaneously visualize them as a network. We quantify the interrelationship of metals by means of flow path sharing. Furthermore, by looking at the flows of alloys into metal networks, the networks of the major metals iron, aluminum, and copper together with those of the eight alloying metals can be categorized into alloyed-, nonalloyed-(i.e., individual), and both mixed. The result shows that most metals are used primarily in alloy form and that functional recycling thereby requires identification, separation, and alloy-specific reprocessing if the physical properties of the alloys are to be retained for subsequent use. The quantified interrelation of metals helps us consider better metal uses and develop a sustainable cycle of metals.

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