A thermodynamic perspective on technologies in the Anthropocene : analyzing environmental sustainability

Leiden Repository

A thermodynamic perspective on technologies in the Anthropocene : analyzing environmental sustainability

Title: A thermodynamic perspective on technologies in the Anthropocene : analyzing environmental sustainability
Author: Liao, W.
Publisher: Institute of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2012-07-03
Keywords: Bioethanol
Biofuels
Emergy analysis
Energy analysis
Exergy analysis
Industrial ecology
Life cycle assessment
Material flow analysis
Thermodynamics
Titania
Abstract: Technologies and sustainable development are interrelated from a thermodynamic perspective, with industrial ecology (IE) as a major point of access for studying the relationship in the Anthropocene. To offer insights into the potential offered by thermodynamics in the environmental sustainability analysis of technologies, this thesis develops a hierarchical framework which defines techno-systems at four levels, viz. the ecosphere, the anthroposphere, and individual technologies, the latter being further subdivided into a foreground system and a supply chain. The role and applications of thermodynamic analysis in IE and broader human-environment systems is reviewed. The production of US bioethanol, global biofuels, and Chinese titania is studied by applying a series of thermodynamic sustainability indicators, combining thermodynamic analysis with material flow analysis (MFA), and combing thermodynamic analysis with life cycle assessment (LCA), respectively, in the framework. The outcomes of the review and case studies show that taking account of thermodynamics is a necessity when analyzing the environmental sustainability of technologies, and integrating energy analysis, exergy analysis, and emergy analysis with LCA and MFA is both feasible and useful. The thesis then discusses the limitations and challenges of the developed framework and ends with three recommendations for the further development of thermodynamic analysis for sustainability.
Description: Promotor: S.M. Verduyn Lunel, Co-promotoren: G. Huppes, R. Heijungs,
With summary in Dutch
Faculty: Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen
Citation: Liao, W., 2012, Doctoral thesis, Leiden University
ISBN: 9788462030701
Sponsor: China Scholarship Council
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/19206
 

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application/pdf Chapter 1 Introduction and research questions 278.3Kb View/Open
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