Keywords: energy, environment, exergy, air pollution, thermodynamics, environmental impact, waste emissions
Relation between the exergy of waste emissions and measures of environmental impact
In an attempt to improve methodologies for assessing and predicting environmental impact, the relation between several measures of environmental impact potential and exergy is investigated. Exergy is a measure of the degree of disequilibrium between a substance and its environment. The approach taken compares current methods used to assess the environmental impact potential of waste emissions and the exergy associated with those emissions. The measures of environmental impact potential considered are the Ontario 7le of industrial air emission limits, and two methods of assessing the environmental costs for air emissions resulting from the combustion of three common fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. A relationship was identified between one environmental costing methodology and exergy. Further work appears to be justified, using more data, to verify this relation, and to detect other relationships between the exergy of waste emissions and measures of environmental impact.