EPA Science Inventory

Emergy, Transformity, the Emergy Unit and the Emergy Baseline.

Citation:

Campbell, Dan. Emergy, Transformity, the Emergy Unit and the Emergy Baseline. Presented at Emergy Synthesis 8, Gainesville, FL, January 16 - 18, 2014.

Description:

This paper addresses three important research areas subject to some disagreement within the community of emergy practitioners or to misunderstandings within the scientific community as a whole. Emergy and its sister idea, transformity, are important new concepts derived from the proposed laws of non-equilibrium thermodynamics developed by H.T. Odum. While the formal definition of emergy is well known, there is still some debate about the meaning of this new idea and those not trained in Energy Systems Theory may experience considerable difficulty in understanding its meaning. In this paper we consider the concepts of emergy and to a lesser degree transformity with the purpose of gaining a better understanding of their meaning. In addition, the origin of the word “emergy” is reexamined and an etymological argument is used in a re-derivation of the term. Furthermore, scientists performing emergy research have used different names and abbreviations for the emergy unit. Use of the various names for the emergy unit are reviewed and appropriate and inappropriate abbreviations are considered based on the rules and style conventions of the International System of Units (SI) and the standard rules governing use of the English language. Finally, we examine the planetary baselines currently in use and present criteria for determining their plausibility. Based on these criteria, we present a recalculation of the planetary emergy base line and explain why this recalculation produces a result that is superior to existing choices.

Purpose/Objective:

This paper will be presented before an audience of emergy research scientists from around the world. Some of the subject matter presented will be controversial and the impact of the ideas presented will depend on their acceptance by the audience. This means that the impact of the ideas expressed could have a world-wide effect on the way that emergy evaluation is performed and documented.

URLs/Downloads:

DC_ABSTRACT_ORD-006492.PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 11.836 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Completion Date: 01/29/2014
Record Last Revised: 01/29/2014
Record Created: 01/29/2014
Record Released: 01/29/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 267676

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT BRANCH