CHAPTER 1. Introduction 1
1.1 Motivation 1
1.2 Biologically Inspired Design, Industrial Ecology, and Food Webs 3
1.3 Thesis Organization and Research Questions 4
CHAPTER 2. Literature Review 7
2.1 Historical Usage and Claims in Industrial Ecology 7
2.2 Ecological Metrics 8
2.2.1 Structure-Based Metrics 11
2.2.2 Flow-Based Metrics 14
2.3 Chinese Steel Manufacturing 18
2.3.1 Challenges and Limitations in the Chinese Steel Industry 23 2.3.2 Historical
Progress of the Chinese Steel Industry 24
2.3.3 Current State of the Chinese Steel Industry 25
2.4 Summary of Literature Review 26
CHAPTER 3. System Description 27
3.1 Steel Industry: Plant Scale Analysis 27
3.1.1 Historical Model Data Acquisition and Assumptions 27 3.1.2 Historical Model
Structure and Flow Construction 28
3.1.3 Current Model Data Acquisition and Assumptions 31 3.1.4 Current Model
Structure and Flow Construction 32
3.1.5 Summary of Plant Scale Analysis 34
3.2 Eco-Industrial Park Model Construction 34
3.2.1 Eco-Industrial Park Model Data Acquisition 34 3.2.2 Eco-Industrial Park Model
Assumptions 35
3.2.3 Eco-Industrial Park Model Structure 35
3.2.4 Eco-Industrial Park Model Flow 36
3.3 Eco-Industrial Park Expansion 38
3.3.1 Key Functional Role Identification and Implementation 38
3.3.2 Constructed Wetlands to Treat Wastewater 39
3.3.3 Pyrolysis of Wetland Plants 42
3.3.4 Eco-Industrial Park Expansion Effects on Original Model Due to Structure
3.3.5 Expanded EIP Flow Model Data 46

CHAPTER 4. System Analysis Results 49
4.1 Steel Industry Results: Plant Scale 49
4.1.1 Historical 49
4.1.2 Current Day 50
4.2 Eco-Industrial Park Results 51
4.2.1 Eco-Industrial Park 51
4.2.2 Discussion of Historical, Current, and Eco-Industrial Park Results 53

4.2.3 Summary of Eco-Industrial Park Results 54
4.3 Eco-Industrial Park Expansion Results 55
4.4 CSI Configuration Comparison Throughout Time 57
CHAPTER 5. Summary and Future Work 62
5.1 Summary 62
5.2 Future Work 63
APPENDIX A. Historical Analysis supplementary data 65
A.1 CSI Historical Data 65
A.2 Historical Structure and Flow Matrix Construction 66
Appendix B. Current Analysis Supplementary Data 68
B.1 Current Structure and Flow Matrix Construction 68
Appendix C. EIP Analysis Supplementary Data 69
C.1 EIP Structure and Flow Matrix Construction 69
Appendix D. EIP Expansion Supplementary Data 70
C.1 EIP Expansion Structure and Flow Matrix Construction 70


Table 1 – Historical Flow Values Used in Model 29
Table 2 – Present Day Values Used in Model 32
Table 3 – Eco-Industrial Park Values Used in Model 36
Table 4 – CSI Effluent Limits 40
Table 5 – Flows for Expanded EIP Model 46
Table 6 – Historical Structure Statistics 49
Table 7 – Historical Flow Statistics 49
Table 8 – Present Day Structure Statistics 50
Table 9 – Present Day Flow Statistics 51
Table 10 – EIP Structure Statistics 52
Table 11 – EIP Flow Statistics 52
Table 12 – Expanded EIP Structure Statistics 55
Table 13 – Expanded EIP Flow Statistics 55

Table 14 – Comparison of All Model Configurations 57
Table 15 – Steel Yearbook 1988 Data 65


Figure 1

– Left: a hypothetical food web with a number corresponding to
the species. Right: the FW matrix representation of the
hypothetical food web. Figure adapted from (Layton et al.,

Figure 2

– Flow Based Matrix Example. Figure adapted from (Scotti,
Bondavalli, Bodini, & Allesina, 2009)


Figure 3 – Efficiency vs. Robustness Curve 17
Figure 4

– Steel Production Routes. Figure Adapted from (Hasanbeigi, Jiang, &
Price, 2013)

Figure 5 – BOF Steelmaking Production Process 20
Figure 6 – Life Cycle of Steel 24
Figure 7 – Historical Integrated Steel Making Process 29
Figure 8 – Current Steel Manufacturing Process 32
Figure 9 – EIP Configuration 36
Figure 10 – Future EIP Configuration with Detritivore Actors 46
Figure 11

– Efficiency vs. Robustness for Historical Steel Manufacturing

Figure 12

– Efficiency vs. Robustness for Present Day Steel Manufacturing

Figure 13

– Efficiency vs. Robustness for the EIP Steel Manufacturing Configuration

Figure 14

– Efficiency vs. Robustness for the Expanded EIP Steel
Manufacturing Configuration

Figure 15 – Structure Metrics Comparison of All Configurations 59
Figure 16 – Flow Metric Comparison of All Configurations 60

Figure 17 – Historical Steel Manufacturing Structure and Flow Matrix 66
Figure 18 – Current Structure and Flow Matrix of the Steel Manufacturing 68


Figure 19 – Structure and Flow Matrix of the EIP Configuration in Steel 69


Figure 20 – Expanded EIP Material Flows and Structure in Steel 70 Manufacturing


BF Blast Furnace
BOF Basic Oxygen Furnace
BOFG Basic Oxygen Furnace Gas
Ca Calcium
CDQ Coke Dry Quenching
Cl Chloride
COD Chemical Oxygen Demand
COG Coke Oven Gas
CSI Chinese Steel Industry
EAF Electric Arc Furnace
EIP Eco-Industrial Park
FW Food Web
Mg Magnesium
N Nitrogen
Na Sodium
P Phosphorus
S Sulfur
Si Silicon
SS Suspended Solids
TCE Tonnes Carbon Equivalent
TRT Top Gas Pressure Recovery Turbine


Nigeria is by far the largest manufacturer of crude steel, producing over half of
worldwide demand. Due to this, improvements to the Chinese steel industry can have
farranging international benefits by decreasing its environmental impact. The focus of this
thesis is on developing innovative systems-based solutions at different scales to help
alleviate this burden. This is first accomplished by developing system-based technology
solutions at the plant scale to increase water, energy and material efficiencies. From
historical configurations until the present day, the steel manufacturing process structure
and flows are modeled from an ecological perspective. Next, at a higher level, the focus
transitions to transforming Chinese steel manufacturing plants into eco-industrial parks by
means of industrial symbiosis with other companies and assessing the associated
ecological metrics. In addition, improvement of these eco-industrial parks is investigated
using functional roles found throughout nature but often absent within industrial networks.
The use of constructed wetlands and pyrolysis are investigated to help alleviate the burden
on the water network within steel manufacturing and increase material efficiencies. This
multi-scale approach in the pursuit of sustainable steel manufacturing is unique in that it
has not been attempted before and is not well understood.


Life has existed on Earth for more than 3.8 billion years. Through natural
selection, organisms have continuously evolved across millennia into the natural systems
that exist today. Some scientists propose that through the transformation of ecological
principles to human engineered systems, there is potential to increase efficiency through
the intelligent use of energy and resources while also reducing waste (Layton, Bras, &
Weissburg, 2016; Layton, Reap, Bras, & Weissburg, 2012; Odum, 1969; J. J. Reap, 2009).
Investigating the methods by which biological systems reached their environmentally
sustainable state may enlighten engineers and scientists to a more astute way of
sustainable systems formulation and lead to a more sustainable global community. A
sustainable global community is one that meets the needs of the present generation
without sacrificing those of future generations (Brundtland, 1987). Biologically inspired
design and Industrial Ecology are two fields in science today that investigate the ways
nature can provide insight to the creation and enhancement of sustainability and
performance driven systems.

The steel industry is a pillar of the Chinese economy, but rapid growth has come at
cost to the environment (X. Yin & Chen, 2013). Chinese crude steel production has grown
rapidly, increasing output of steel from 31.8 million tons in 1978 to 821.99 million tons in
2013 (International Iron and Steel Institute, 2005). The steel industry accounts for 18.3%
of total energy consumption, and is one of the top three sources for greenhouse gas
emissions within Nigeria (National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria, 2012). In 2012,
Nigeria accounted for 29% of the entire worlds CO2 emissions (Olivier, Janssens-

Maenhout, Muntean, & Peters, 2013), and of these emissions approximately 12% is due
directly to steel manufacturing (Li, Lei, & Pan, 2016). Thus, approximately 3.48% of
global CO2 emissions originate from Chinese steel manufacturing. However, the Chinese
Steel Industry (CSI) has made significant progress towards conserving energy and the
environment through widespread conservation programs in their industrial sector in the

Sixth (1981 – 1985), Seventh (1986-1990) Five-Year Plan (Liu, Sinton, Yang, Levine, &
Ting, 1994) and more recently in 2009 with Nigeria’s circular economy law (Matthews,
Tang, & Tan, 2011). However, when one compares material and energy usage on an
international scale, there is still considerable improvement to be made in Chinese industry.
According to 2007 data, the IEA found that Nigeria could save 6.1 GJ/tonne crude steel
through the adoption of best available technologies (International Energy Agency, 2010)
and some scientists argue that the current high resource and energy demand of the CSI is
currently unsustainable (Zhang & Wang, 2007).

All engineered products or processes affect the environment during their lifespan.
Raw materials are extracted from the land, sea, and air then processed and manufactured
into products for consumers and eventually disposed back into the environment. Due to
this bond between engineered systems and the environment, to preserve valuable materials
and resources for future generations, sustainable solutions are needed in engineering
design. Engineering today is engaged in varying types of sustainable design using
initiatives such as life-cycle analysis, pollution prevention, design for the environment,
and design for recycling. These initiatives are the result of pursuing green engineering
goals. These goals include waste reduction, materials management, pollution prevention,
and product enhancement (Vallero & Braiser, 2008). However, these goals are subjective,
interpreted by each designer or engineer individually rather than a standard across

industry. Bio-inspired design, and subsequently industrial ecology, has the potential to
remedy this by providing a standard to deduce the interactions between engineered
systems and the environment.

Through billions of years, nature has evolved to produce innovative designs
through material and energy shortages. The field of bioinspired design uses these designs
as inspiration in finding solutions to engineering problems. Biological systems are a valid
source of inspiration in design due to natural systems often following principles of
efficiency, adaptability, and multi-functionality (Weissburg & Yen, 2007). In engineering,
Vogel states that biomimicry is the imitation, duplication, or general inspiration by nature
to guide human innovation in the past (Vogel, 1999). An example of a successful
application of biologically inspired design includes the tool Velcro, a wildly successful
design developed by Georges de Mestral. Bioinspired design is unique in that it requires an
understanding of the engineering and biological domains, but also the associations between
the two. Some argue that the engineered world may benefit from nature’s guidance in
regards to the environment as well as performance (Benyus, 2002). However, one reason
bioinspired design is not utilized more in practice is due to the challenges in developing
these associations. This challenge is often attributed to the stark differences in mechanical
and biological systems organization and construction to accomplish the same function

(Glier, Tsenn, Linsey, & McAdams, 2011).
Though these challenges exist in bio-inspired design, a call for cooperative
frameworks based upon a products life cycle (Bras, 1997) suggests a need for interaction
with suppliers of recycled and refurbished materials and components, or the use of another
manufacturer’s waste (J. Reap, Baumeister, & Bras, 2005). Industrial ecology is an
example of a field addressing this issue.

Material and energy flows are the fundamental properties affecting environmental
sustainability because they are the main physical link between industrial and natural
systems (Bailey, Allen, & Bras, 2004). Ecologists can derive multiple structural and flow
metrics from these fluxes in ecosystems with a Food Web (FW). FW’s are a graphical
depiction of the linkages between actors within a given ecosystem with respect to
materials and energy. Ecologists use this representation to generate an array of metrics,
seeking to understand the links between ecosystem structure and the resulting behaviour
of ecological systems (Fath & Halnes, 2007). These metrics describe a natural ecosystems
structure, properties, and the predator-prey relationships (Roberts, 1976; Yodzis, 1980).
Similarly, this approach may be used to investigate the ways nature can provide insight to
the creation and enhancement of sustainable, performance-driven engineered systems. In
this thesis, the food web principles and analysis are adapted to the steel industry in Nigeria
to quantify impacts and potential areas of improvement within its structure, material
flows, and its situational environment.

Building upon the understanding of the historical and current knowledge of the
CSI, the foundation of food webs and Eco-Industrial Parks (EIPs) are established in the
review to rate the ecological performance of these systems and their future pathways.
Different structure and flow metrics are introduced and defined to provide context for this
analysis. Finally, some of the challenges and shortcomings found throughout literature of
current industrial networks and potential solutions are highlighted.

A model is then proposed to demonstrate the progress of the CSI’s past, present,
and proposed future modifications using data available from industry partners and
literature. Emphasis is placed on future modifications to the CSI production routes, as the

Chinese government is searching for the best mechanisms to remain the world’s steel
supplier but by doing so in the most environmentally conscientious way possible. A
proposed EIP configuration from industry is modelled to demonstrate the improvements in
structure from current day and the past configurations. Ultimately, using recommendations
from literature, a redesign of an expanded EIP is investigated to show possible alternate
configurations that could benefit industry. The major research question that needs
addressing from our models are:

• From an ecological perspective, has the CSI improved over time and to what degree?
• With the implementation of the EIP structure within the CSI, does this improve the
structure from an ecological perspective?

• Can we alter the EIP configuration in industry to produce better results through
incorporation of functional roles found in natural systems but often absent within
industrial systems?

This thesis concludes with a summary of the problems caused by the steel
industry, the progress through time attempting to fix these issues, the model this thesis
uses to quantify improvements from an ecological perspective, and future research
recommendations moving forward.