About Industrial Ecology

Description of the department of Industrial Ecology (CML-IE)


Coalbrookdale at night

Coalbrookdale at night

Research in the Department of Industrial Ecology aims to support the ecological transformation of society and environment towards sustainability. The research subject is that of Industrial Ecology taken in its broadest definition, covering environmental systems analysis, and incorporating the social and economic aspects required for sustainability analysis. The system analysis involves the development and application of concepts, methods and models. Research concerns global and regional ecological en socio-economic relations at a macro level, for environmental strategy development, and, at a meso and micro level, for support of sustainable decision making on policies and technologies regarding production and consumption. The focus in the analysis is on conceptually relatively simple models. They mostly are based on one or a few central mechanisms, as related to substance flows (MFA, material flow accounting), product flows (LCA, life cycle assessment), and monetary flows (IOA, input-output analysis). The systems analysis of energy flows and market relations comes into our research domain, as do ecological relations and evolutionary mechanisms (no acronyms). Links with the two other sustainability areas, the social and economic aspects, are actively being established, as in LCC (life cycle costing) and eco-efficiency analysis. Normative aspects of decision making are taken into account explicitly. Application of the models to real decision situations is essential for model development and for proving their applicability.

Our methods development for industrial ecology is always linked to practical applications. Examples are in the fields of chlorine, heavy metals, and nutrients policy; dematerialization, factor 4/10 and eco-efficiency; environmental fate modelling and genomics; and chain management, product policy, and product and technology assessment.


Education in the research area of Industrial Ecology takes place in a distinct MSc Industrial Ecology, which is a jointly organised by:


The department of Industrial Ecology has several structural cooperations in the Netherlands and abroad:


See the full list of publications from the Department of Industrial Ecology  


Contact address for the department of Industrial Ecology

Last Modified: 27-03-2009