Mineral-Water-Energy Nexus: Implications of Localized Production and Consumption for Industrial Ecology

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
The Tipping Point: Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity, 2015
Issue Date:
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Urban and remote areas are increasingly using decentralised systems for renewable energy production and storage, as well as for water harvesting and recycling and to a lesser extent for product manufacture via 3D printing. This paper asks two questions – how will these developments affect (i) the end-uses of minerals, including critical minerals and (ii) the implications for industrial ecology and the development of a sound materials cycle society. We find a trade-off between using higherperformance critical minerals in low concentrations which are complex to recycle, and unalloyed, standardised materials for increased effectiveness across multiple reuse cycles. Design and operational challenges for managing decentralised infrastructure are also discussed as their uptake approaches a tipping point.
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