Edited by Robert U. Ayres and Leslie W. Ayres
Chapter 9: Substance flow analysis methodology
9. Substance ﬂow analysis methodology Ester van der Voet In this chapter, the analytic tool of substance ﬂow analysis (SFA) is described and a general framework is presented to conduct SFA studies. SFA aims to provide relevant information for an overall management strategy with regard to one speciﬁc substance or a limited group of substances. In order to do this, a quantiﬁed relationship between the economy and the environment of a geographically demarcated system is established by quantifying the pathways of a substance or group of substances in, out and through that system. SFA can be placed in the scientiﬁc ﬁeld of industrial ecology, as one way to operationalize the concept of industrial metabolism (Ayres 1989a). In this concept, an analogy is drawn between the economy and environment on a material level: the economy’s ‘metabolism’, in terms of materials mobilization, use and excretion to create ‘technomass’, is compared to the use of materials in the biosphere to create biomass. The economy thus is viewed only in terms of its materials ﬂows. The analysis of such ﬂows in general is called MFA (material ﬂow accounting or analysis). Udo de Haes et al. (1997) deﬁne SFA as a speciﬁc brand of MFA, dealing only with the analysis of ﬂows of speciﬁc chemicals. MFA is a broader concept, also covering the analysis of mass ﬂows through an economic system and the analysis of bulk ﬂows of speciﬁc materials such as paper, glass and plastics and is...
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