Monday, November 06, 2006

Literature Study 1 - Eco industrial parks and emergy

I am going to post some work that I am presenting this Thursday in one of my classes. Below you will find my response to an assignment where I was required to find a journal article and answer some questions regarding the connection between the article's content and energy management ideas. As well, the professor wanted to know a bit about us, which you will find my response in Part 1. It was rather fun to do, so I hope you enjoy it.


Part 1

At the beginning I had no expectations of the course. The course description was rather vague and seemed to cover a lot of material. Once I attended the first lecture, the professor captured my complete attention. The course should be rather organized and the lecturers, so far, knowledgeable and easy to listen to. Open discussion and dialogue are important in a course of this nature, where everyone's opinion is valued and respected.

I expect to learn much about the philosophies of system thinking. System thinking in North America in the energy or environmental industry is not widely engaged thus, understanding the value of system thinking will hopefully enlighten me. I expect to learn from my classmates about their experiences and lessons learned in their fields of study. I intend to understand how system thinking can be used in various fields and not only in the energy industry.

In my last year of university, I worked intimately with fuel cell technology in the mining industry. I was to develop experimental test beds to gauge fuel cell performance for mining vehicle propulsion. Some time later, my career started in government regulations and government programming. I assisted a senior engineer who gave me exactly what I needed to flourish my understanding of the energy industry from the regulator's point of view. Our main goal was to develop industrial air emission guidelines and to find solutions for the industry to meet energy efficiency and air emission standards. This opportunity led me to many projects and industry conferences, where I was exposed to the leading edge of energy and environmental thinking in North America.

Currently, solid waste to energy concepts are fuelling my thirst for knowledge and understanding. I enjoy the debate of whither we should combust our solid wastes or reduce the amount of waste we produce from the source. This debate is fresh in Canada and drawing from the European experience, it will hopefully provide an insight to what can work.

Part 2

The second article in the literature study is a paper explaining the emergy analysis model and incorporating it to an eco-industrial park in China. Emergy is used as a tool to characterize the inputs and outputs of a system by giving them a standard value, solar energy (emergy). These values are then drawn into formulae to reach a conclusion on the sustainability of the system in question. The paper introduces a new set of characteristics or index which was able to better represent the flows of material, energy and money.

The authors were much in favour of the eco-industrial system. They wanted to represent this system as accurately as possible, for industry to understand the value of such a system. It can be seen that their expertise lies within the emergy model analysis as they could convert most inputs and outputs of a large system into emergy statistics. Their familiarity with the model allowed them to improve upon it with their new index.

Taking a clue from the nature of the journal where this paper was published, the intended audience was experts and disciples of the modeling community. Those who study emergmodelingng would be very interested in the new development and as well as the functionality of the emergy model on eco-industrial parks. In comparison to other models, the emergy model is unique as it takes all forms of energy and puts them on a simple common plane. A solar plane. All energy can be translated into a value of solar energy. Laganisa & Debeljakb (2006, pp. 287-288) describe it as an, "attempt to solve the problems of multi-quality inputs by transforming them to an equivalent of energy of a single quality, which is usually solar energy."

The article continues to describe the eco-industrial park into four distinct areas: electricity flows between the producers and consumers; Steam requirements and the flow between producers and consumers; Water usage and flows; and material by-products. All of these flow lines needed to be managed for the system to function at a sustainable and profitable level, giving way to complex management analysis. Critically, the flow lines between the neighbouring enterprises are dependant and cannot fail, otherwise causing loss for each of the tenants of the park.

I chose this article because the concept of eco-industrial parks consists of many different levels in system management. I refer to the levels where energy, solid materials (renewable and non-renewable), labour, and monetary need to be observed in unison to create a, challenging, balance in production, transportation and consumption of goods and services.


If you want to learn more about the article, send me a note to my email: darklamp(at) I will forward you the article. Also wikipedia has some great stuff on emergy for those who are curious.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow!! you are so advanced!!! We are here so far behind in Canada. Now we are expecting to be all dead by 2050 and then the clear air could begin to flow. This is according to the last deed of the conservatives....
YOu should be here teaching this poor environmental minister she is really lost!!! no idea why she is there!!!
By Random Thoughts

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is how they came with a value in dollars for the cost of the global warming, so many trillions of dollars.
love your blog.


5:50 AM  

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