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Exergy and extended exergy accounting of very large complex systems with an application to the province of Siena, Italy



Exergy and extended exergy accounting of very large complex systems with an application to the province of Siena, Italy



Journal of Environmental Management 86(2): 372-382



This paper describes the application of exergy and extended exergy analyses to large complex systems. The system to be analysed is assumed to be at steady state, and the input and output fluxes of matter and energy are expressed in units of exergy. Human societies of any reasonable extent are indeed Very Large Complex Systems and can be represented as interconnected networks of N elementary "components", their Subsystems; the detail of the disaggregation depends on the type and quality of the available data. The structural connectivity of the "model" of the System must correctly describe the interactions of each mass or energy flow with each sector of the society: since it is seldom the case that all of these fluxes are available in detail, some preliminary mass- and energy balances must be completed and constitute in fact a part of the initial assumptions. Exergy accounting converts the total amount of resources inflow into their equivalent exergetic form with the help of a table of "raw exergy data" available in the literature. The quantification of each flow on a homogeneous exergetic basis paves the way to the evaluation of the efficiency of each energy and mass transfer between the N sectors and makes it possible to quantify the irreversible losses and identify their sources. The advantage of the EEA, compared to a classical exergy accounting, is the inclusion in the system balance of the exergetic equivalents of three additional "Production Factors": human Labour, Capital and Environmental Remediation costs. EEA has an additional advantage: it allows for the calculation of the efficiency of the domestic sector (impossible to evaluate with any other energy- or exergy-based method) by considering the working hours as its product. As implied in the title, an application of the method was made to a model of the province of Siena (on a year 2000 database): the results show that the sectors of this Province have values of efficiency close to the Italian average, with the exception of the commercial and energy conversion sectors that are more efficient, in agreement with the rather peculiar socio-economic situation of the Province. The largest inefficiency is found to be in the transportation sector, which has an efficiency lower then 30% in EEA and lower than 10% in classical exergy accounting.

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Accession: 021008331

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PMID: 17064841

DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2006.04.016



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