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Engineering    2018, Vol. 4 Issue (2) : 209 -217
Research |
Industrial Ecosystems and Food Webs: An Ecological-Based Mass Flow Analysis to Model the Progress of Steel Manufacturing in China
Stephen M. Malone1(),Marc J. Weissburg2,Bert Bras1
1. George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0405, USA
2. School of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA

Materials and energy are transferred between natural and industrial systems, providing a standard that can be used to deduce the interactions between these systems. An examination of these flows is an essential part of the conversation on how industry impacts the environment. We propose that biological systems, which embody sustainability, provide methods and principles that can lead to more useful ways to organize industrial activity. Transposing these biological methods to steel manufacturing is manifested through an efficient use of available materials, waste reduction, and decreased energy demand with currently available technology. In this paper, we use ecological metrics to examine the change in structure and flows of materials in the Chinese steel industry over time by means of a systems-based mass flow analysis. Utilizing available data, the results of our analysis indicate that the Chinese steel manufacturing industry has increased its efficiency and sustainable use of resources over time at the unit process level. However, the appropriate organization of the steel production ecosystem remains a work in progress. Our results suggest that through the intelligent placement of cooperative industries, which can utilize the waste generated from steel manufacturing, the future of the Chinese steel industry can better reflect ecosystem maturity and health while minimizing waste.

Keywords Ecological network analysis      Mass flow analysis      Steel manufacturing     
Corresponding Authors: Stephen M. Malone   
Just Accepted Date: 08 April 2018   Issue Date: 16 May 2018
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Stephen M. Malone
Marc J. Weissburg
Bert Bras
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Stephen M. Malone,Marc J. Weissburg,Bert Bras. Industrial Ecosystems and Food Webs: An Ecological-Based Mass Flow Analysis to Model the Progress of Steel Manufacturing in China[J]. Engineering, 2018, 4(2): 209 -217 .
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[1] Zackery B. Morris, Stephen M. Malone, Abigail R. Cohen, Marc J. Weissburg, Bert Bras. Impact of Low-Impact Development Technologies from an Ecological Perspective in Different Residential Zones of the City of Atlanta, Georgia[J]. Engineering, 2018, 4(2): 194 -199 .
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