In this paper we use ecology metrics to analyze closed loop manufacturing networks, specifically eco-industrial parks. Eco-industrial parks (EIP) have become a popular manifestation of sustainable initiatives around the world. EIP examples and proposals have met with varying success. We create here three groupings of industrial networks based on the values of cyclicity, a metric used by ecologists to classify the presence and strength of the structural cycling of materials and energy in a system. Ecological food web structures are naturally evolved closed-loop systems and as such exhibit relatively high cyclicity values. Comparing average biological values for cyclicity, among other metrics, to average values for industrial systems we may begin to reach conclusions on the success of the biological inspiration of these structures. The industrial networks have been grouped into industrial systems with cyclicity values of zero, industrial systems with very high cyclicity values which have not moved beyond the proposal stage, and cyclicity values for those industrial networks which have been successful. The results of these comparisons give insight into what structural properties eco-industrial parks should possibly focus on to better imitate the efficient and sustainable cycling representative of biological networks.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.