Projects at the Department of Industrial Ecology

The Department of Industrial Ecology has research projects in several areas.
Below you can view our main project areas as well as on-going and finalized projects.

Project areas at Industrial Ecology

The Department of Industrial Ecology has research projects in several areas. Below are examples of these areas.

If you have questions around our project areas or projects please send a mail to the contact person.

Methods in Industrial Ecology

Several methods and tools for achieving a more sustainable future have been developed within the area of Industrial Ecology. They are developed within separate disciplines and for somewhat different purposes. Examples of such tools include environmental impact assessment (EIA), strategic environmental assessment (SEA), life cycle assessment (LCA), positional analysis (PA), cost-benefit analysis (CBA), material intensity per unit service (MIPS) analysis, total material requirement (TMR) analysis, ecological footprint (EF), exergy analysis, Material Flow Analysis (MFA). At the departmentof Industrial Ecology we continuously develop and use these tools in different projects.

Contact: Ass. Professor Björn Frostell

Sustainable Urbanism

The overall area includes the development of Iindustrial Ecology models for urban areas including energy, water, waste.

Climate change - Strategies, actions and evaluation on local and regional level

We have several projects in the area together with the City of Stockholm. For example:

  • Scientific evaluation of project including in the climate investment programme (KLIMP)
  • Evaluation of energy projects in the “Environmental billion” program
  • City of Stockholm’s Action Programme against Greenhouse gas emission – follow-up and calculation, City of Stockholm
  • Business-as-usual-scenario of greenhouse gas emission in City of Stockholm 2005-2015, City of Stockholm

Our main tasks are:
- Guidelines and methods for CO2 calculations to evaluate greenhouse gas emissions from project and action programs in municipalities. This also include calculations on company and product level.
- Strategies on local and regional level for CO2 reduction
- Scenario methods for energy use on local level and regional level.

Contact: Ass. Professor Nils Brandt

Sustainable development on urban district level

In this area we work with evaluation and development of sustainable urban districts, trough evaluation and analysis of environmental programs, profiles and visions. We work with evaluation and scenarios based on different tools based on energy and material flows
Examples of projects:

  • Evaluation of the environmental profile of Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm 2008-2009
  • Scenarios and evaluation models for Norra Djurgårdsstaden – a new environmental profiled urban district in Stockholm

Contact: Ass. Professor Nils Brandt

Sustainable Energy Systems

The area streches from energy system analysis in companies and municipalities to consumers use of energy.

We have also projects where we use models to compare environmental impacts of different energy systemes inclusinh new type of energy technologies.

Contact: Ass. Professor Björn Frostell

Risk Management

Risk is an important factor to consider in many human activities. The area of risk management includes different methods to assess, control and communicate risk. Our interests include risks to human health, environment, and properties. The research in Risk Management at the Department is focused on developing more qualitative methods for risk assessment and risk evaluation where the results can be used in participatory decision processes in society. This means that the results should be possible to understand and accept by stakeholder groups like authorities, politicians, NGOs etc.

Environmental Conflict Resolution in Coastal Zone Management

Environmental effects from human activities often are roots to conflicts between different interests. Environmental Conflict resolution inclused methods and strategies to resolve conflicts between nations and stakeholders.
The coastal zones often play an outstanding role for trade, transport, agriculture, fisheries, industrial production, as well as tourism. There are however several serious threats to a sustainable growth of welfare in these zones. Two of them are conflict interests and environmental pollution. The environmental threats are often complex and versatile. There is often a lack of system view in the handling of this problem. The solutions have to be found in a process where all spatial aspects are considered, where all stakeholders take part, and where cultural differences as well as levels of economic and social development is considered.

At the Department of Industrial Ecology our objective is to develop platforms and methods to handle conflicts between different stakeholders and the focus is the Baltic Sea Region (BSR).

Sustainable Consumption

Guiding economic activities on a sustainable development trajectory requires informed decisions and actions on both production and consumption component both at a local and global level. Positive gains achieved due to improvements made on the production arm in terms of productivity and efficiency during the last decades have been offset by negative impacts of the ever increasing magnitude of consumption particularly in countries in North. Creating knowledge regarding the quantity and quality of goods and services consumed is vital in understanding and dealing with the environmental, social and economic aspects of the problems related to consumption. This evolving research area at our department is concerned with household metabolism related to purchasing decisions; models for calculating direct and indirect environmental impacts of consumption at household level; impacts of trade, etc.

Contact: Ass. Professor Björn Frostell

Environmental Modelling

Environmental modelling is an important way to assess environmental problems. Inverse modelling is done to interpret environmental systems, thereby strengthening the conceptual understanding of specific site or problem. Predictive modelling is done to forecast future development of the site, assess risk, and evaluate different management options. Predictive modelling is particularly important for systems that are inaccessible for field characterisation or when long time scales are involved. At Industrial Ecology, environmental modelling is mainly directed to the aquatic environment and the urban water system.

Contact: Ass. Professor Maria Malmström

Environmental Chemistry

In each and every environmental problem, chemistry is involved. Chemistry handles the distribution of elements between the spheres (hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, technosphere) and is important for the fate of chemical substances, antropogenic or natural, in natural and engineered systems. At Industrial Ecology, experimental environmental chemistry is focused on exogene geochemistry, with special interest in aqueous phase – mineral interactions and redox transitions, focusing on metal and metalloid ion chemistry. Such reactions are particularly important in waste handling issues (e.g. mining waste and radioactive waste) and for, e.g., soil remediation.

Contact: Ass. Professor Maria Malmström

Ecological Engineering

Engineering methods to affect ecological system e.g. harvesting of algaes for production of biogas.

Contact: Ass. Professor Fredrik Gröndahl

Waste Management

Waste is considered to be the world’s most unnecessary problem. A large amount of waste means a high degree of inefficiency with raw material and energy. At the same time our consumption society produces more and more products with less and less life span, increasing the demand of new materials and more energy production. In order to break this trend, an efficient waste management based on the waste hierarchy is essential in all parts of the society. At Industrial Ecology we focus on a system approach of waste management, meaning that we look into all aspects of sustainability when working with a waste problem. A lot of our research is directed to the top of the waste hierarchy meaning waste prevention and recirculation. We also focus on real life problems, often using municipalities or small and medium sized companies as case studies, both in Sweden and abroad.

Contact: Monika Olsson

Water Management

The area includes integrated water management, water footprints etc.

Contact:  Ass. Proessor Björn Frostell

Scenario methods

Scenario methods like forecasting and backcasting are used in order to develop action programs strating from visions.

Contact: Dr. Olga Kordas

Sustainable Technology

Technology has increased the capabilities of mankind during the last one hundred years in a revolutionary way. At the same time this development has lead to enormous effects on the global environment. The tendency has been to first create the problems and then to mitigate them. The only reason for the “success” of technology is that damage to human and bio spherical commons is not economically priced in a correct way. Today, when we have realized that “the sky is the limit”, this reversed way to handle the situation has turned out to be increasingly costly.

Although technology has the potential to play a vital role in the development of sustainable societies and new concepts and tools for a deeper understanding of the ecology of technology are being developed in research, there are large barriers for these concepts to be practically realised in the industrial society. There are two main explanations for this. One is that these new concepts have not on a deep level influenced the education programs at the technical universities. Still the engineering education is very much taught as if technological change was independent of the societal context. The other explanation is that there is still not an effective triple helix working in practice with a close co operation between universities, industry, and the public sector.

Contact: Ass.Professor Björn Frostell

Sustainable Communication

ICT and Industrial Ecology open up new possibilities to develop new form for measuring energy and material flow in real-time data. This power of measurement is very relevant to the concept of industrial ecology. In the analogy of industrial metabolism, the account of the energy and material flows is a central one. With sensor technologies it is possible to have accurate “metabolism” accounting in real time. Instead of the traditional analysis performed by life cycle assessments and such studies, the use of sensors and information technologies allows a real time control of bottom up data. This allows for more accurate information and faster possibilities for response measures. An important concept is the possibility for bottom up measurements, moving away from statistical data. This is possible not only for industrial and mechanical processes but also for personal, household, or even city “metabolisms”. With advanced techniques, it is possible to measure an individual carbon dioxide metabolism in an accurate way and then provide instant feedback of the impact and how to reduce it. This type of applications can be used for household energy use, food consumption, air travel etc.

Contact: Ass. Professor Nils Brandt

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