First, the research group develops quantitative metrics for the assessment
to evaluate the technical and environmental sustainability of new
(renewables-based) technologies. The basics of the quantitative
tools are thermodynamics and life-cycle assessment. The combination
into the exergy and exergetic life cycle assessment allows an objectivication
of the sustainability debate. Through a thorough process chain analysis,
it becomes obvious in quantitative terms how much resources and
materials are taken
into the product's life cycle, what the fraction of renewables is,
how efficient they are converted into products and by-products,
what is converted into waste and irreversibilities, etc. Particular
examples can be
found in: Dewulf et al., Renewability Assessment of Biofuel Production,
Environmental Science and Technology, 2005, 39, 3878-3882; and Renewables-Based
Technology: Sustainability Assessment, Dewulf J. & Van Langenhove
H. Editors, Wiley Series in Renewable Resources, 2006, John Wiley
& Sons, Chichester.
Next to assessing the environmental and technical sustainability
of technology, ENVOC focuses on cleaner production technology through
research on the integration of membrane contactors within enzymatic
oxidation/reduction reactors. Here, oxygen supply through membrane
contactors for the enzyme mediated oxidation is investiged.
More information can be found at www.envoc.ugent.be.