Evaluation of Potentially Eco-Efficient Solutions: Functional Sales and Industrial Ecology (Mechanical Project)

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Design of products permits to yield goods and services to produce satisfaction on customers, which is measured as value. However, it is at this stage in which most of the environmental impact, from a lifecycle perspective, is added to the product. Eco-design aims at increasing value of products while reducing the burdens on the environment by means conscious design towards efficient use of resources.

That efficiency, referred to as eco-efficiency, can be increased in a number of manners within environmental engineering. Traditionally, different fields have tackled materials, energy flows and products from different angles or approaches.

In this project we describe Functional Sales (FS) and Industrial Ecology (IE) as examples of these. Within this latter, we put emphasis on Industrial Symbiosis (IS) and Eco-effectiveness. We consider these approaches are suitable to work in the framework of eco-design to increase ecoefficiency. By adding services to material products, and managing material and energy flows with a more ecological consciousness, we expect to increase value of products while reducing the impact on the environment.

To analyse this potential improvement, we developed a method involving a new eco-efficiency index (VERI), that recursively intends to ease decisions on possible eco-efficient alternatives. This index and its method are applied to a case study on management of olive oil supply in region of Murcia, Spain. Here, we propose three scenarios that will involve the implementation of FS and IE to compare the outcomes in value and environmental performance against an idealised current supply chain. The results obtained, although not accurate, suggest that FS and EI should be more taken into account in eco-design and, this latter, to also consider holistic viewpoints to find more eco-efficient alternatives for a product development.
Source: Linköping University
Author: González Ocón, Santiago

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