Saturday, 28 June 2008

Industrial Ecology

Concept of Industrial Ecology represents a relatively new and leading edge for manufacturing and business, which has just been intensively considered within the last 10 years. The concept of Industrial ecology was made popular since it was published in Scientific American by Frosch and Gallopoulos (1989) and was first formalized in 1993 by Indigo Development, a team of people from Dalhouse University in Nova Scotia and Cornell University’s Work and Environment Initiative. The concept was further developed by Ayres and Ayres (1996) as well as Ehrenfeld and Gertlet (1997).

Dramatic improvement on knowledge and technology has made levels of consumption on goods and services globally increase. This led to the increase of consumption on material and energy resources while, the biosphere’s capacity to provide resources is limited. At the limits to material throughput, sustainability requires that the growth in the consumption of goods and service be accompanied by a proportional decline in the energy and material intensity of that consumption. This is one of the ideas behind development of Ecological approach to industrial system.

Another consideration is an awereness that the move to the ‘sutainable development’ needs to include industrial sector in their economic activities. However, to include industry in reaching ‘sustainability’, basic development to increase quality on industrial environment and resources efficiency is required, as well as an integrated industrial activities with their community. Implementing industrial ecology involves such things as life cycle analysis, closed loop processing, reusing and recycling, design for environment and waste exchange.

Industrial ecology adapts the ecosystem analogy in industrial system, which is principally concerned with the flow of materials and energy through system at different scale, from product to factories and up to national and global level. In a concept of industrial ecology, industrial system is not viewed as a single system isolated form its neighborhood, but as a unity. It refers to the exchange of materials between different industrial sectors where the waste output of one industry becomes the feedstock of another. In this system, material cycle is optimized, from raw material, components, products and final waste, including resources, energy and capital. Ecology on industry, manufacture etc. is aimed to begin reducing in using energy and material (dematerializing) in a frame of global economy.

One of the elements of industrial ecology is industrial symbiosis. Industrial sysmbiosis focus on flow of materials and energy through network of businesses and other organizations in local and regional economies. It consists of place-based exchanges among different entities that defer a collective benefit greater than the sum of individual benefits that could be achieved by acting alone. Such collaboration can also increase social capital among the participants enganging in exchanges. This collaborations also examines technical and regulatory considerations that have come into play in various locations that can facilitate or inhibit industrial symbiosis. Finally, it considers future directions with regard to industrial symbiosis based on historical and current experience.

Source :
1. Chertow, M. Uncovering Industrial Symbiosis, Journal of Industrial Ecology vol. 11 no. 1
pg 11-30 MIT and Yale University, 2007
2. Korhonen, J. Some Suggestions for Regional Industrial Ecosistems – Extended Industrial Ecology. Eco Management and Auditing 8, pg 57-69, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. And ERP Environment, 2001
3. Peck, Steven W. Industrial Ecology : From Theory To Practice can be accessed at

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Rearrangement on Public Transport System to Increase Energy Efficiency

The fact that the sale on motor vehicles in this country increase dramatically every year brings a rise to national income. What is concerned regarding this is fuel energy crisis we are facing, when purchasing on fuel will be limited and controlled using smart card system which is being prepared by the government. The increase of motor vehicles will increase demand on fuel (read : ‘fossil’ fuel). Until today it is remained unknown whether or not this tendency on increasing demand has been followed by projection analysis on fuel energy needed as a consequence. Today, just to fulfill the need on fuel energy for industries, transportation, and house electricity, the government faces difficulties due to limited amount of in country fuel stock.

Most motor vehicles sold in developing countries are vehicles that high consume fuel. This is based on consideration that these motor vehicles of high consume fuel are of relatively cheaper technology, so the vehicles can be sold in an affordable price for people in developing countries; compared to motor vehicles with high technology which are much more expensive. Imagine when the number of motor vehicles increase every year, energy crisis will be much worse than what we are facing today. When this crisis affects industrial sector, the social impact will accelerate the plunge of this nation. Industrial sector will collapse which will followed by increasing the number of unemployment; and the social costs will be very exspensive.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, an organization representing over 50 large multinational corporations, in 1993 had held a workshop on the parameters of an ‘eco-effisien’ economy, and concluded …. “reductions in energy use of over 90 percent will be required by 2040 to meet the needs of a growing world population ….” In practical term, what this means is that if for example, you currently drive a car that achieves a fuel efficiency of 10 kilometers per litre, by the year 2040, your new, super light car will achieve 10 kilometers from one tenth of a litre. There must be reductions of energy throughput by factors of 9 and 10 over the next 32 years. Today, manufacturer of motor vehicles from developed countries has been developing their technology to produce light energy cars refered to this recommendation.

What is going to happen on highly consume fuel motor vehicles on developing countries then? Will these motor vehicles turned into useless cars prematurely, caused by unsufficiency of fuel stock? Emerging effort in fuel energy efficiency has to be done in many ways. Development on technology to convert fuel energy to alternative energy which is environmentally friendly is one of the many ways. Another way is to remanage public transport system. The good public transportation and its system will reduce the use of private motor vehicles which will increase fuel energy use efficiency and moreover, will reduce air emission.

In most developed countries, the ministry of transport in cooperation with local transport authority have make use of information technology in managing their transportation system. For example, public transport system in Sydney implements Public Transport Management System (PTMS), Real Time Passenger Information Systems, Priority Systems, Timetable Management, Schedule Adherence and Vechilcle Tracking System Motorway Management System. Malaysia, since the year 2005 has put into practice an Integrated Transport Information System, Advanced Traffic Management System, Automatic Incident Detection System and Automatic Vechicle Location System on some local public transport system. The goal is to optimize service on public transport by providing optimal number of bus, adjusting cycle lengths, splits and offsets between intersections to maximize throughput, minimize delays and reduce the number of stops en route, to provide accurate, reliable, consistent and intelligible information to bus passengers while providing low cost easy to use management tools for bus operators.

It is obvious that to use high technology would cost a lot. However, the compensation from reducing subsidy on fuel can be diverted to buying high technology in order to get a long term solution in overcoming fuel energy crisis. This might be a better choice to do than distributing the money as Direct Cash Aid (Bantuan Langsung Tunai) and Student Financial Aid (Bantuan Keuangan Mahasiswa) which probably cannot be done regularly and does not solve the core problem.