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Industrial Ecology Approaches to Improve Metal Management: Three Modeling Experiments
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology. (Systems Analysis and Sustainable production and consumption)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2459-0311
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A linear model of consumption − produce-use-dispose − has constantly increased the pressure on the environment in recent decades. There has been a great belief that technology will solve the problem, but in many cases it is only partly contributing to the solution. For a full solution, the root causes of problems need to be identified. The drivers-pressures-state-impact-response (DPSIR) framework allows the drivers of a specific problem to be identified by structuring the causal relations between humans and the environment. A state/ impact-based approach can help identify pressures and drivers, and make what can be considered an end-of-pipe response. Rather than that mainstream approach, this thesis adopts a pressure-based driver-oriented approach, which could be considered a proactive approach to environmental resource management.

In physical resource management, material flow analysis (MFA) is one of the tools used for communication and decision support for policy response on resource productivity and pollution abatement. Here, element flow analysis (EFA), a disaggre- gation of MFA for better mass balance, was applied in pollution control and resource management. The pressure-based driver-oriented approach was used to model element flows and thus identify the drivers of problems in order to improve pollution control and resource management in complex systems.

In one case study, a source-storage-transport model was developed and applied in five lakes in the Stockholm region to identify the drivers of copper pollution by monitoring the state of the environment through element flow modeling linking diffuse sources and fate in the lakes. In a second case study, a system dynamics modeling approach was applied in dynamic element flow modeling of the global mobile phone product system to investigate the drivers for closing the material flow loop through a sensitivity analysis. In a third case study, causal loop diagram modeling was used for proactive resource management to identify root causes of a problem in a complex system (product systems of physical consumer goods) by qualitatively analyzing unintended environmental consequences of an improvement action.

In the case study on lakes in the Stockholm region, the source-transport-storage model proved capable of predicting copper sources through monitoring the sediment copper content in the heavily copper-polluted lakes. The results also indicated how the model could help guide policy makers in controlling copper pollution. The system dynamics study proposed an eco-cycle model of the global mobile phone product system by tuning the drivers, which could lessen the pressures on resources by decreasing the resource demands for production and increasing resource recovery at product end-of- life. The causal loop diagram study showed that a broader systems approach is required to understand and identify the drivers for proactive resource management in a complex system, where improvement actions can lead to unintended consequences. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. , xiii, 34 p.
Series
TRITA-IM-LIC 2014, 2014:01
Keyword [en]
system dynamics, element flow analysis, industrial ecology, product systems, end-of-life, DPSIR, pressure-based driver-oriented approach, environmental management
National Category
Environmental Management Energy Systems
Research subject
Industrial Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-164872ISBN: 978-91-7595-396-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-164872DiVA: diva2:806385
Presentation
2015-05-08, Sal D3, Lindstedtsvägen 5, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20150420

Available from: 2015-04-20 Created: 2015-04-20 Last updated: 2015-04-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Copper content in lake sediments as a tracer of urban emissions: evaluation through a source-transport-storage model
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Copper content in lake sediments as a tracer of urban emissions: evaluation through a source-transport-storage model
2010 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 408, no 13, 2714-2725 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A coupled source-transport-storage model was developed to determine the origin and path of copper from materials/goods in use in the urban drainage area and the fate of copper in local recipient lakes The model was applied and tested using five small lakes in Stockholm, Sweden. In the case of the polluted lakes Racksta Trask, Trekanten and Langsjon, the source strengths of copper identified by the model were found to be well linked with independently observed copper contents in the lake sediments through the model. The model results also showed that traffic emissions, especially from brake linings, dominated the total load in all five cases Sequential sedimentation and burial proved to be the most important fate processes of copper in all lakes, except Racksta Trask, where outflow dominated The model indicated that the sediment copper content can be used as a tracer of the urban diffuse copper source strength, but that the response to changes in source strength is fairly slow (decades) Major uncertainties in the source model were related to management of stormwater in the urban area, the rate of wear of brake linings and weathering of copper roofs The uncertainty of the coupled model is in addition affected mainly by parameters quantifying the sedimentation and bury processes, such as particulate fraction, settling velocity of particles, and sedimentation rate As a demonstration example, we used the model to predict the response of the sediment copper level to a decrease in the copper load from the urban catchment in one of the case study lakes (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved

Keyword
Diffuse source, Lake sediment, Urban drainage area, Copper
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-27315 (URN)10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.02.045 (DOI)000278678200009 ()2-s2.0-77952547340 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20101209Available from: 2010-12-09 Created: 2010-12-09 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
2. Experimenting on closing the metal flow loop in the global mobile phone product system: a system dynamics modeling approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experimenting on closing the metal flow loop in the global mobile phone product system: a system dynamics modeling approach
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), well known as e-waste, is one of the fastest growing waste flows worldwide with increasing complexity in production through distribution to end of life (EoL). In this waste stream, a high number of mobile phones makes e-waste more compelling to examine the whole life of the specific product. In addition, having an interest in e-wastes for informal recycling in developing countries (DC), industrialized countries (IC) export e-wastes to developing countries. The emerging economies of reuse, refurbish and export of used mobile phones not only make the EoL complex, but also make the systems more challenging to sustainability. Since industrial ecology (IE) advocates resource efficiency with closed loop systems, we adapted a system dynamics modeling approach to investigate the dominance paths and driving forces for closing the metal flow loop through the concept of industrial symbiosis and eco-cycle modeling. This study finds higher efficiency for closing the loop in collection systems of used phones, mobile phone use time, and informal recycling in developing countries. By analyzing the dominant parameters, an eco-cycle model is proposed which could enhance a closed loop system by decreasing pressures on non-renewable resources. Improved policy supports accompanying consumer and corporate awareness with responsibility could create a circular consumption in the global mobile phone product system. 

Keyword
closed loop, eco-cycle, mobile phones, product systems, system dynamics, substance flow analysis, e-waste, end of life
National Category
Environmental Management Energy Systems
Research subject
Industrial Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-164868 (URN)
Note

QS 2015

Available from: 2015-04-20 Created: 2015-04-20 Last updated: 2015-04-20Bibliographically approved
3. Unintended environmental consequences of improvement actions: A qualitative analysis of systems' structure and behavior
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Unintended environmental consequences of improvement actions: A qualitative analysis of systems' structure and behavior
Show others...
2015 (English)In: Systems research and behavioral science, ISSN 1092-7026, E-ISSN 1099-1743Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We qualitatively analysed how and why environmental improvement actions often lead to unintended environmental consequences. Different theories are integrated to delineate the underlying system structure causing this system behavior. Causal loop diagram technique is utilized to explore and visualize: how incremental improvements in material and energy efficiency can unintendedly cause consumption to increase; how this consumption rebound effect is linked to generation of waste and pollution; and how this can give rise to social and negative externalities, economic inequalities and other broad unintended consequences in our society. Consumption and incremental innovation are found to be the highest leverage points and reinforcing factors driving unintended environmental consequences in this complex system. The paper in addition explores two potential modes of behaviour dissimilar to those of unintended environmental consequences. These emerging modes of behaviour are product-service systems and environmental policy instruments. Their combination forms a prominent transition pathway from a production-consumption-dispose economy to a so-called circular economy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2015
Keyword
Unintended environmental consequences; incremental innovation, consumption rebound effect; causal loop diagram.
National Category
Environmental Management
Research subject
Industrial Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-164870 (URN)10.1002/sres.2330 (DOI)000379955400006 ()2-s2.0-84923340510 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20160812

Available from: 2015-04-20 Created: 2015-04-20 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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