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Science Foundation in China

Materials and sustainable development
CSIRO, Process Science and Engineering, Gate 5, Normanby Rd., Clayton, Victoria, 3168, Australia
Abstract:  Sustainable development is a concept, which involves social, ecological and economic objectives, and requires to sustain the integrity of resources exploitation, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change. Although there is still much confusion and conflict about exact meaning of sustainable development, many agree that sustainable development is about satisfying social, environmental, and economic goals. While the concept is generally accepted and relatively easy to comprehend, the difficulty arises in trying to apply the principles of sustainable development in practice. One of the difficulties is need to measure the “level of sustainability”. The desirable characteristics for sustainability indicators have to include: simple to calculate, useful for decision making, and robust in indicating progress toward sustainability. The exergy analysis approach based on full life cycle assessment (LCA) of the materials and technologies is a useful metrics to evaluate mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with industrial eco materials and technologies. The metrics is used for reducing dimensionality on the input side by combining material and energy streams and output side reducing different characterisation factors to a single “unsustainability” indicator in a theoretically rigorous manner. The adopted approach has been illustrated on a few examples associated with Australian aluminium industry.
Keywords:  sustainability measurement; exergy analysis; life cycle assessment (LCA); eco-efficiency
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