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Guiomar Calvo, Alicia Valero, Antonio Valero, and Oscar Carpintero (2015)

An exergoecological analysis of the mineral economy in Spain

Energy, 88:2-8.

Abstract This paper shows how exergy can be used to assess the mineral balance of a country and at the same time assess its mineral resource sustainability. The advantage of using such an approach is that the quality of the resources is taken into account, as opposed to the conventional procedure that uses tonnage as a yardstick. The exergoecology method evaluates mineral resources as the exergy required to replace them from a complete dispersed state to the conditions they were originally found with the best available technologies. The country chosen as a case study is Spain and serves as a representative example of the mineral situation in Europe. The general trend observed is that imports are increasing and domestic production is decreasing. The minerals with higher exergy replacement costs are mainly those imported, including fossil fuels and scarce minerals. In 2005, the domestic production of minerals was higher than the imports but since imports were mainly of scarce minerals, the exergy loss associated with such imports was higher compared to domestic production. As it happens to most European nations, Spain is a very dependent country regarding the supply of fossil fuels but not as much in the case of non-fuel minerals.

Material extraction, Domestic material consumption, Exergy replacement costs, Exergy analysis

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Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Ulysea S.L. - Informática

Thermodynamics for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Cover Thermodynamics

Wojciech Stanek (Editor)

This book examines ways of assessing the rational management of nonrenewable resources. Integrating numerous methods, it systematically exposes the strengths of exergy analysis in resources management.

Thanatia: The Destiny of the Earth's Mineral Resources

Cover Thanatia

A Thermodynamic Cradle-to-Cradle Assessment by (author): Antonio Valero Capilla and Alicia Valero Delgado

Is Gaia becoming Thanatia, a resource exhausted planet? For how long can our high-tech society be sustained in the light of declining mineral ore grades, heavy dependence on un-recycled critical metals and accelerated material dispersion? These are all root causes of future disruptions that need to be addressed today.