Edited by Robert U. Ayres and Leslie W. Ayres
11. Process analysis approach to industrial ecology Urmila Diwekar and Mitchell J. Small Industrial ecology is 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 inﬂuence of economic, political and social factors on the use, transformation and disposition of resources (White 1994). Industrial ecology applies the principles of material and energy balance, traditionally used by scientists and engineers to analyze well-deﬁned ecological systems or industrial unit operations, to more complex systems of natural and human interaction. These systems can involve activities and resource utilization over scales ranging from single industrial plants to entire sectors, regions or economies. In so doing, the laws of conservation must incorporate a number of interacting economic, social and environmental processes and parameters. Furthermore, new methods and data are required to identify the appropriate principles and laws of thermodynamics at these higher levels of aggregation (Ayres 1995a, 1995b). Figure 11.1 presents a conceptual framework for industrial ecology applied at diﬀerent scales of spatial and economic organization, evaluating alternative management options using diﬀerent types of information, tools for analysis and criteria for performance evaluation. As one moves from the small scale of a single unit operation or industrial production plant to the larger scales of an integrated industrial park, community, ﬁrm or sector, the available management options expand from simple changes in process operation and inputs to more complex resource management strategies, including integrated waste...
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