TEP4295 - Environmental Analysis and Industrial Ecology


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Written examination
Grade: Letters

Evaluation form Weighting Duration Examination aids Grade deviation
Written examination 100/100 4 hours D

Course content

The course gives an introduction to the field environmental analysis and industrial ecology, with a focus on how to assess contributions to increased resource efficiency and reduced environmental impact in production systems in a life cycle perspective (raw material extraction, production, use, end-of-life management). The course takes sustainability as starting point and illustrates how this is relevant for technology and engineers, by explaining industrial ecology and how this is rooted in biological ecology and analysis of metabolism, and how it is applied to examine socio-metabolic patterns of materials and energy flows and conversion in society. Furthermore, it is explained how industrial ecology principles can be implemented through environmental technology, product development, design and life cycle assessment of products and infrastructure. The course explains methods for quantification of mass flows, recycling ratios, efficiency ratios, resource efficiency and environmental impacts, with an introduction to material flow analysis (MFA), energy analysis (EA), life cycle assessment (LCA) and scenario analysis. Emphasis is given on the understanding of how such methods can be used for environmental analysis of technical systems in practice, with examples related to industrial symbiosis at industrial ecoparks, products for the car industry, energy use and biogas/biofuel from biomass and waste, and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for buildings.

Exercises and group work are designed in order to give students training on topics covered in lectures, to better understand theory and methods when applied to practical problems and cases in industry and society.

Learning outcome

Knowledge: The student shall be able to: i) Explain the concepts of sustainability and industrial ecology and how these are relevant for engineers and can be applied through principles of environmental technology, environmental product development, design and life cycle assessment of products and infrastructure, ii) Explain situations where a systems analysis and life cycle perspective of environmental quality in production systems is important and required for a holistic environmental understanding; and iii) Explain (simplified) the theoretical basis of methods in environmental systems analysis and give examples on how they can be applied to evaluate technical solutions in production systems and what kind of questions they can help answer.

Skills: The students shall be able to: i) Define a production system in a life cycle perspective and discuss different analysis objectives and system boundaries; ii) Explain terminology and principles of quantifying mass flows, recovery rates and efficiencies for systems of different complexity (unit processes, production plants, value chains); iii) Explain the mathematics of analysis method and carry out simple calculations according to the principles used in environmental systems analysis, with focus to Material flow Analysis (MFA) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA); iv) Interpret simple models and explain how important parameters and assumptions influence results in total; and v) Explain how such methods can be used for analysis of improvement opportunities in given technical systems and reflect upon differences, strengths and weaknesses of methods.

General competence: The student shall be able to: i) Understand the importance of industrial ecology systems thinking when analyzing and improving environmental performance of technical systems; ii) Be familiar with the main principles of environmental systems analysis and be able to communicate with experts on the use of such methods; and iii) Achieve a good scientific basis for choosing and following more specialized courses in industrial ecology and to include such theory and methods in future project and masters thesis work.

Learning methods and activities

The course is taught with 2F + 1F/2Øu, i.e. 3 hours lectures (F) and 2 hours guided exercises work (Øu) per week. Weight is given to learning through exercises, consisting of a number of exercises (individual and in groups) on selected applications of environmental systems analysis i technical systems in practice.

2/3 of the exercises must be approved on order to get access to the final exam.

Compulsory assignments

  • Exercises

Further on evaluation

For a re-take of an examination, all assessments during the course must be re-taken.

In case of a continuation examination, this will be held as an oral test.

Specific conditions

Exam registration requires that class registration is approved in the same semester. Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Course materials

Textbook is T.E. Graedel and B.R Allenby: Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Engineering, Prentice Hall, Pearson, 2010. In addition will come some other articles and own written materials, to be specified during the course.


Detailed timetable


Examination arrangement: Written examination

Term Statuskode Evaluation form Weighting Examination aids Date Time Room *
Spring ORD Written examination 100/100 D
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date.
If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.