Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
On sustainability assessment of technical systems: experience from systems analysis with the ORWARE and ecoeffect tools
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology.
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 [en]
technology assessment, interdisciplinarity, sustainability, sustainability assessment, industrial ecology, substance flow analysis, material flow analysis, life cycle assessment
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-550ISBN: 91-628-6708-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-550DiVA: diva2:14404
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
List of papers
1. ORWARE: a simulation tool for waste management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>ORWARE: a simulation tool for waste management
Show others...
2002 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 36, no 4, 287-307 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A simulation model, ORWARE (ORganic WAste REsearch) is described. The model is mainly used as a tool for researchers in environmental systems analysis of waste management. It is a computer-based model for calculation of substance flows, environmental impacts, and costs of waste management. The model covers, despite the name, both organic and inorganic fractions in municipal waste. The model consists of a number of separate submodels, which describes a process in a real waste management system. The submodels may be combined to design a complete waste management system. Based on principles from life cycle assessment the model also comprises compensatory processes for conventional production of e.g. electricity, district heating and fertiliser. The compensatory system is included in order to fulfil the functional units, i.e. benefits from the waste management that are kept constant in the evaluation of different scenarios. ORWARE generates data on emissions, which are aggregated into different environmental impact categories, e.g. the greenhouse effect, acidification and eutrophication. Throughout the model all physical flows are described by the same variable vector, consisting of up to 50 substances. The extensive vector facilitates a thorough analysis of the results, but involves some difficulties in acquiring relevant data. Scientists have used ORWARE for 8 years in different case studies for model testing and practical application in the society. The aims have e.g. been to evaluate waste management plans and to optimise energy recovery from waste.

Keyword
Waste management; Material flow analysis; Systems analysis; Life cycle assessment; Simulation model; ORWARE
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8912 (URN)10.1016/S0921-3449(02)00031-9 (DOI)000178793600001 ()
Note
QC 20100505Available from: 2005-12-13 Created: 2005-12-13 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. Municipal Solid Waste Management from a Systems Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Municipal Solid Waste Management from a Systems Perspective
Show others...
2005 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 13, no 3, 241-252 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Different waste treatment options for municipal solid waste have been studied in a systems analysis. Different combinations of incineration, materials recycling of separated plastic and cardboard containers, and biological treatment (anaerobic digestion and composting) of biodegradable waste, were studied and compared to landfilling. The evaluation covered use of energy resources, environmental impact and financial and environmental costs. In the study, a calculation model ( ) based on methodology from life cycle assessment (LCA) was used. Case studies were performed in three Swedish municipalities: Uppsala, Stockholm, and Älvdalen.

The study shows that reduced landfilling in favour of increased recycling of energy and materials lead to lower environmental impact, lower consumption of energy resources, and lower economic costs. Landfilling of energy-rich waste should be avoided as far as possible, partly because of the negative environmental impacts from landfilling, but mainly because of the low recovery of resources when landfilling.

Differences between materials recycling, nutrient recycling and incineration are small but in general recycling of plastic is somewhat better than incineration and biological treatment somewhat worse.

When planning waste management, it is important to know that the choice of waste treatment method affects processes outside the waste management system, such as generation of district heating, electricity, vehicle fuel, plastic, cardboard, and fertiliser.

Keyword
LCA; LCC; Environmental systems analysis; Waste management; Recycling; Simulation model; Image ; Scenarios; Case study
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8913 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2004.02.018 (DOI)000225529700004 ()2-s2.0-8344270205 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100505Available from: 2005-12-13 Created: 2005-12-13 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. ORWARE: an aid to Environmental Technology Chain Assessment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>ORWARE: an aid to Environmental Technology Chain Assessment
2005 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, 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.

Keyword
Material flow analysis; Substance flow analysis; Life cycle assessment; Technology assessment; Waste management
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8914 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2004.02.019 (DOI)000225529700006 ()2-s2.0-8344290442 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100505Available from: 2005-12-13 Created: 2005-12-13 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
4. Technology assessment of thermal treatment technologies using ORWARE
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technology assessment of thermal treatment technologies using ORWARE
2005 (English)In: Energy Conversion and Management, ISSN 0196-8904, E-ISSN 1879-2227, Vol. 46, no 5, 797-819 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A technology assessment of thermal treatment technologies for wastes was performed in the form of scenarios of chains of technologies. The Swedish assessment tool, ORWARE, was used for the assessment. The scenarios of chains of thermal technologies assessed were gasification with catalytic combustion, gasification with flame combustion, incineration and landfilling. The landfilling scenario was used as a reference for comparison. The technologies were assessed from ecological and economic points of view.

The results are presented in terms of global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, consumption of primary energy carriers and welfare costs. From the simulations, gasification followed by catalytic combustion with energy recovery in a combined cycle appeared to be the most competitive technology from an ecological point of view. On the other hand, this alternative was more expensive than incineration. A sensitivity analysis was done regarding electricity prices to show which technology wins at what value of the unit price of electricity (SEK/kW h).

Within this study, it was possible to make a comparison both between a combined cycle and a Rankine cycle (a system pair) and at the same time between flame combustion and catalytic combustion (a technology pair). To use gasification just as a treatment technology is not more appealing than incineration, but the possibility of combining gasification with a combined cycle is attractive in terms of electricity production.

This research was done in connection with an empirical R&D work on both gasification of waste and catalytic combustion of the gasified waste at the Division of Chemical Technology, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden.

Keyword
Technology assessment; Material flow analysis; Substance flow analysis; Life cycle assessment; Life cycle costing; Thermal technologies; ORWARE
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8915 (URN)10.1016/j.enconman.2004.04.011 (DOI)000226448400011 ()2-s2.0-10444281767 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100505Available from: 2005-12-13 Created: 2005-12-13 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
5. A systematic approach for addressing input data uncertainties in technology assessment of new technologies: the case of ORWARE
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A systematic approach for addressing input data uncertainties in technology assessment of new technologies: the case of ORWARE
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8916 (URN)
Note
QC 20100831Available from: 2005-12-13 Created: 2005-12-13 Last updated: 2010-08-31Bibliographically approved
6. Social sustainability and social acceptance in technology assessment: a case study on energy technologies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social sustainability and social acceptance in technology assessment: a case study on energy technologies
2007 (English)In: Technology in society, ISSN 0160-791X, E-ISSN 1879-3274, Vol. 29, no 1, 63-78 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses an approach for assessing indicators for the social sustainability of technical systems developed within a Swedish technology assessment tool called ORWARE. Social sustainability is approached from the perspective of one of its ingredients, namely social acceptance. The research takes the form of a case study on energy technologies conducted in the municipality of Kil in west central Sweden. Three indicators—knowledge, perception, and fear associated with four chains of energy technologies—are assessed using a questionnaire.

The questionnaire results indicate that respondents have such a low level of information and knowledge about new energy technologies that they are unable to discriminately rank them. This was found to hamper participation in discussions and decision making about technologies for which public funds would be spent.

The importance of assessing social indicators by engaging members of society is discussed, and an assessment approach is developed. The need to present results together with ecological and economic indicators is emphasised in order to avoid suboptimization.

Keyword
Sustainability; Social sustainability; Assessment; Social acceptance; Technology assessment; ORWARE; Sweden
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10700 (URN)10.1016/j.techsoc.2006.10.007 (DOI)2-s2.0-33845876900 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100505Available from: 2009-07-13 Created: 2009-07-13 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
7. Environmental assessment of building properties — Where natural and social sciences meet: the case of EcoEffect
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental assessment of building properties — Where natural and social sciences meet: the case of EcoEffect
Show others...
2007 (English)In: Building and Environment, ISSN 0360-1323, E-ISSN 1873-684X, Vol. 42, no 3, 1458-1464 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The EcoEffect method of assessing external and internal impacts of building properties is briefly described. The external impacts of manufacturing and transport of the building materials, the generation of power and heat consumed during the operation phase are assessed using life-cycle methodology. Emissions and waste; natural resource depletion and toxic substances in building materials are accounted for. Here methodologies from natural sciences are employed. The internal impacts involve the assessment of the risk for discomfort and ill-being due to features and properties of both the indoor environment and outdoor environment within the boundary of the building properties. This risk is calculated based on data and information from questionnaires; measurements and inspection where methodologies mainly from social sciences are used. Life-cycle costs covering investment and utilities costs as well as maintenance costs summed up over the lifetime of the building are also calculated.

The result presentation offers extensive layers of diagrams and data tables ranging from an aggregated diagram of environmental efficiency to quantitative indicators of different aspects and factors. Environmental efficiency provides a relative measure of the internal quality of a building property in relation to its external impact vis-à-vis its performance relative to other building properties.

Keyword
Environmental assessment; Building property; Life-cycle assessment; EcoEffect; Indoor environment; Outdoor environment
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10701 (URN)10.1016/j.buildenv.2005.12.011 (DOI)000243121000049 ()2-s2.0-33751216211 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20100505

Available from: 2009-07-13 Created: 2009-07-13 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(780 kB)1816 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 780 kBChecksum SHA-1
cabb803c3eed61e9f70deb5bde83239a2b1c587d3b87e709d2b3197158bbe67b273b62c2
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Assefa, Getachew
By organisation
Chemical Engineering and Technology
Other Environmental Engineering

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 1816 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 1678 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf