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ORWARE: an aid to Environmental Technology Chain Assessment
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5535-6368
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0297-598X
2005 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, Vol. 13, no 3, 265-274 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article discusses the ORWARE tool, a model originally developed for environmental systems analysis of waste management systems, and shows its prospect as a tool for environmental technology chain assessment. Different concepts of technology assessment are presented to put ORWARE into context in the discussion that has been going for more than two decades since the establishment of the US Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). An even-handed assessment is important in different ways such as reproducibility, reliability, credibility, etc. Conventional technology assessment (TA) relied on the judgements and intuition of the assessors. A computer-based tool such as ORWARE provides a basis for transparency and a structured management of input and output data that cover ecological and economic parameters. This permits consistent and coherent technology assessments. Using quantitative analysis as in ORWARE makes comparison and addition of values across chain of technologies easier. We illustrate the application of the model in environmental technology chain assessment through a study of alternative technical systems linking waste management to vehicle fuel production and use. The principles of material and substance flow modelling, life cycle perspective, and graphical modelling featured in ORWARE offer a generic structure for environmentally focused TA of chains and networks of technical processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 13, no 3, 265-274 p.
Keyword [en]
Material flow analysis; Substance flow analysis; Life cycle assessment; Technology assessment; Waste management
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8914DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2004.02.019ISI: 000225529700006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-8344290442OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-8914DiVA: diva2:14399
Note
QC 20100505Available from: 2005-12-13 Created: 2005-12-13 Last updated: 2011-11-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On sustainability assessment of technical systems: experience from systems analysis with the ORWARE and ecoeffect tools
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On sustainability assessment of technical systems: experience from systems analysis with the ORWARE and ecoeffect tools
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Engineering research and development work is undergoing a reorientation from focusing on specific parts of different systems to a broader perspective of systems level, albeit at a slower pace. This reorientation should be further developed and enhanced with the aim of organizing and structuring our technical systems in meeting sustainability requirements in face of global ecological threats that have far-reaching social and economic implications, which can no longer be captured using conventional approach of research. Until a list of universally acceptable, clear, and measurable indicators of sustainable development is developed, the work with sustainability metrics should continue to evolve as a relative measure of ecological, economic, and social performance of human activities in general, and technical systems in particular. This work can be done by comparing the relative performance of alternative technologies of providing the same well-defined function or service; or by characterizing technologies that enjoy different levels of societal priorities using relevant performance indicators. In both cases, concepts and methods of industrial ecology play a vital role.

This thesis is about the development and application of a systematic approach for the assessment of the performance of technical systems from the perspective of systems analysis, sustainability, sustainability assessment, and industrial ecology.

The systematic approach developed and characterized in this thesis advocates for a simultaneous assessment of the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of performance of technologies in avoiding sub-optimization and problem shifting between dimensions. It gives a holistic picture by taking a life cycle perspective of all important aspects. The systematic assessment of technical systems provides an even-handed assessment resulting in a cumulative knowledge. A modular structure of the approach makes it flexible enough in terms of comparing a number of alternatives at the same time, and carrying out the assessment of the three dimensions independently. It should give way to transparent system where the level of quality of input data can be comprehended. The assessment approach should focus on a selected number of key input data, tested calculation procedures, and comprehensible result presentation.

The challenge in developing and applying this approach is the complexity of method integration and information processing. The different parts to be included in the same platform come in with additional uncertainties hampering result interpretations. The hitherto tendency of promoting disciplinary lines will continue to challenge further developments of such interdisciplinary approaches.

The thesis draws on the experience from ORWARE, a Swedish technology assessment tool applied in the assessment of waste management systems and energy systems; and from the EcoEffect tool used in the assessment of building properties; all assessed as components of a larger system. The thesis underlines the importance of sustainability considerations beginning from the research and development phase of technical systems. The core message of this thesis is that technical systems should be researched as indivisible parts of a complex whole that includes society and the natural environment. Results from such researches can then be transformed into design codes and specifications for use in the research and development, planning and structuring, and implementation and management of technical systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2005. 77 p.
Series
Trita-KET-IM, ISSN 1402-7615 ; 2005:17
Keyword
technology assessment, interdisciplinarity, sustainability, sustainability assessment, industrial ecology, substance flow analysis, material flow analysis, life cycle assessment
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-550 (URN)91-628-6708-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-12-16, Salongen, KTHB, Osquars backe 31, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100505Available from: 2005-12-13 Created: 2005-12-13 Last updated: 2010-09-13Bibliographically approved
2. Towards a systematic approach for technology assessment by combining material flow analysis, life cycle assessment and life cycle costing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a systematic approach for technology assessment by combining material flow analysis, life cycle assessment and life cycle costing
2002 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kemiteknik, 2002. ix, 54 p.
Series
Trita-KET-IM, 2002:25
Keyword
technology assessment, material flow analysis, substance flow analysis, life cycle assessment, life cycle costing
National Category
Natural Sciences Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-1512 (URN)91-631-3448-9 (ISBN)
Presentation
(English)
Note
20100506Available from: 2003-02-13 Created: 2003-02-13 Last updated: 2010-08-17Bibliographically approved

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Björklund, Anna

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