International Society for Industrial Ecology

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  • 15 Apr 2014 2:20 AM | Anonymous

    Earbuds, touch screens, CFLs with a warm glow, rechargeable batteries and power windows: Most of us take these things for granted. When we do, we also take for granted a group of elements called rare earth metals, whose special electronic and magnetic properties make them a key component of many 21st century technologies. These 17 elements are actually plentiful enough undefined you probably have some in your backyard undefined but except for a few ore deposits, they are found in nature in low concentrations that make them difficult to collect. As they are integral parts of cell phones, hard drives, hybrid cars, wind turbines and other products with skyrocketing demand, rare earth metals face soaring demand, too.

    As recently as 2010, China produced about 97 percent of the world's supply of rare earth elements. That year the country decided to limit exports, which drove prices through the roof.

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  • 15 Apr 2014 1:51 AM | Anonymous

    Researchers design industrial estate using sustainability principles

    An engineer and an environmental scientist have designed an industrial estate using sustainability principles.It is intended for land adjacent to the proposed Oakajee  port, north of Geraldton in WA's Mid West.

    PhD candidate and sustainability designer David Galloway says the philosophy of  embodies two principles: linking industries for mutual benefit, like organisms in an ecosystem; and placing industry benignly within existing bio-geophysical and social systems. 

    They therefore developed what he describes as "metaphors" to help imagine the requirements of certain types of industry.

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  • 15 Apr 2014 1:42 AM | Anonymous

    Nine Australian institutions are collaborating to establish the virtual “Industrial Ecology Laboratory” that aims to dramatically enhance our analytical capabilities in LCA, as well as other approaches to environmental impact assessment.

    A ground breaking electronic infrastructure will integrate a diverse set of data streams with a calculation engine that can rapidly react as new information becomes available.  It is anticipated that the Industrial Ecology Laboratory will make it easier to assess impacts in complex production and supply chains, allowing for improved strategic decision making.

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  • 15 Apr 2014 1:41 AM | Anonymous
    Once a year, selected master’s degree students from some of the world’s leading design schools – namely NSCAD University, Halifax, Canada; Designskolen, Kolding, Denmark; London College of Fashion; Parsons Paris – gather at Pforzheim University’s School of Design for an intensive one-week Young European Talents (YET) Workshop (Canada is not exactly Europe, though). The fifth YET workshop in November 2013 was titled “from no.where to” and transformed rejected goods and leftovers into creative new products and fashion items in particular. Moreover, intermedial design experts developed virtual platform prototypes to bundle rejected and wasted material within a region to offer it to designers. A detailed description of the workshop can be found here.

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  • 15 Apr 2014 1:31 AM | Anonymous
    Industrial ecology (IE) is a biological concept applied to industrial structures. The basic concepts of IE include regional, intra-firm and product-based waste recycling systems as well as the principle of upward and downward cascading. Paper industry has learned to arrange the recovery and re-use of its products on distant markets, even up to a level where indications of exceeding optimal recovery and re-use rates already exist through deteriorated fibre and product quality. Such occurrences will take place in certain legislative- economic situations. Paper industry has many cascade levels, each with their internal recovery and recycling, as well as many intra-firm. regional, and life cycle ecology structures. 
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  • 15 Apr 2014 1:25 AM | Anonymous

    Greenfield Specialty Alcohols, formerly called Greenfield Ethanol is a first generation ethanol plant, a biorefinery that uses corn as a feedstock to produce 200,000 million litres of ethanol a year. Their production is split evenly between ethanol that is mixed with gasoline for vehicles and industrial ethanol, which you find in everything from shaving cream to vodka.

    This refinery doesn't just produce ethanol however, it kicks out a cornucopia of byproducts which they've found a number of uses for.

    "Corn is a wonderful product because from corn, after the ethanol is made, with the sugars and starches that we convert there is a whole series of products that come from the fermentation," says Angelo Ligori, the plant manager at Greenfield.

    Greenfield sells 140,000 tonnes of distillers grain, the leftovers from the ethanol fermentation process, as animal feed. There is a Praxair carbon dioxide facility onsite capturing and selling 100,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. Greenfield even produces 3 to 4,000 tonnes of industrial corn oil that is sold as a feedstock for animals or biodiesel feedstock.

    But Greenfield has one more untapped waste stream. The plant's smoke stack is a landmark in Chatham, Ontario and every day waste heat from drying their distiller grains shoots right out into the atmosphere. It turns out there is enough heat coming out of that smoke stack to provide the majority of the heating for giant greenhouse next door.

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  • 03 Feb 2014 7:46 PM | Anonymous

    Rare material shortages could put gadgets at risk             

    Modern technology is too reliant on rare materials whose scarcity could drastically set back innovation, a new report has warned.

    It suggested that as more and more devices are manufactured, supplies of key elements, particularly metals, will be strained. Potential substitute materials are either inadequate or non-existent, researchers said.

    One scientist called the findings "an important wake-up call".

    Andrea Sella, of University College London - who was unconnected to the study - told website The Conversation that it was the first time the issue had been explored in such detail.

    Researchers at Yale University, led by Prof Thomas Graedel, analysed the use of 62 metals or metalloids commonly found in popular technology, such as smartphones.


    It found that none of the 62 had alternatives that performed equally well. Twelve had no alternative, Prof Graedal found.

    The scope for serious disruption because of material shortages is increasingly troubling technology companies.

    Rare materials are expensive to extract, and their processing comes with considerable environmental concerns.

    In April 2012, the BBC's Ian Hardy discovered the effect that mass flooding in Thailand had on the technology supply chain

    Political factors also play a part: in 2010, China restricted the export of some materials, known as rare earth elements.

    It said this was because of environmental issues, but some observers noted that the restrictions had two distinct effects - the price of the elements increased fivefold, and Chinese companies were simultaneously given the upper hand in using the precious materials at lower cost.

    Read more at:

  • 03 Feb 2014 7:18 PM | Anonymous
    This workshop meets on-line on Tuesdays (June 3, 10, 17, 24) 2014 at 12:00pm Pacific Time for 60 minutes.

    This is an introductory workshop on life cycle assessment. Participants will learn the steps involved and complete a simple life cycle assessment in a business simulation and gain an understanding of the scope, challenges and possibilities in applying life cycle assessment to decision-making processes.

    This is a great introductory workshop for sustainability professionals:

    • wondering if LCA would be a good field to get into
    • who may need to hire a firm to do a detailed LCA and need to know enough about the process to manage the project
    • who need an introduction to LCA before taking the 'deep dive' into the certification training.

    We will cover commercial LCA software tools available to practitioners: such as SimaPro, GaBi, Umberto, and OpenLCA.

    We will also cover the fundamentals of creating Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), which are gaining rapid interest in the building and construction industry LEED credit point system.

    Your online workshop experience, from pre-work to deliverable completion, is June 1 through 30.  The workshop is delivered online and via the Internet so you participate from your computer for both the live weekly webinars and for the 24/7 online 'classroom' experience.

    Successful completion of this workshop can be applied towards an elective credit towards the ISSP Sustainability Professionals Certificate.

    Christy Nordstrom
  • 03 Feb 2014 4:54 PM | Anonymous
  • 12 Oct 2013 9:30 PM | Anonymous;jsessionid=3931DD627507E095C9FD87B5F2886526

    A sustainable global community requires the successful integration of environment and engineering. In the public and private sectors, designing cyclical (“closed loop”) resource networks increasingly appears as a strategy employed to improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.
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International Society for Industrial Ecology is affiliated with Yale University's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies 195 Prospect St. New Haven CT 06511

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