A manufacturing system comprises production processes and building services, both of which are supplied by different energy carriers as well as raw materials and water. These resources interact according to complex relationships and are converted into products for sale and waste flows. Holistic resource accounting allows the analyst to consider the dynamic relationships between these components, including the strong interdependence between energy and water, which has been called the energy-water nexus. Exergy analysis is a method that accounts for mass and both the quantity and quality of energy, while allowing analysis on a common basis, and for this reason, it is used increasingly to analyse resource consumption in manufacturing systems; however, it has rarely been used to consider water flows alongside energy and material flows. The main contribution of this paper is the presentation of modelling water flows in terms of exergy in the context of sustainable manufacturing. Using this technique in combination with previously developed exergy-based methods, the result is a truly holistic resource accounting method for factories based on exergy analysis that incorporates water flows. The method is illustrated using a case study of a food factory in which a 4.1% reduction in resource use is shown to be possible by employing anaerobic digester in an effluent water treatment process. The benefits of this technology option would have been underestimated compared to the benefits of waste heat capture if an analysis based on mass and energy balances alone had been used. The scientific value of this paper is the demonstration of the relatively high exergy content of effluent flows, which should therefore be regarded as potentially valuable resources. The analytical method presented is therefore of value to a wide range of industries beyond the food industry.
The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 11, 2017
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