ZERI is a practical approach to satisfying humanity's needs for water, food, energy, jobs, shelter and more, in an environmentally sustainable manner...
The Zero Emissions Concept
Zero Emissions represents a shift in our concept of industry away from linear models in which wastes are considered the norm, to integrated systems in which everything has its use. It heralds the start of the next industrial revolution in which industry mimics nature's sustainable cycles and humanity, rather than expecting the earth to produce more, learns to do more with what the earth produces.
Zero Emissions envisages all industrial inputs being used in the final products or converted into value-added inputs for other industries or processes. In this way, industries will reorganize into "clusters" such that each industry's wastes / by-products are fully matched with others' input requirements, and the integrated whole produces no waste of any kind.
From an environmental perspective, the elimination of waste represents the ultimate solution to pollution problems that threaten ecosystems at both local and global levels. In addition, full use of raw materials, accompanied by a shift towards renewable sources, means that utilization of the earth's resources can be brought back to sustainable levels.
For industry, Zero Emissions means greater competitiveness and represents a continuation of its inevitable drive towards efficiency. First came productivity of labor and capital, and now comes the complete use of raw materials - producing more from less. Zero Emissions can therefore be viewed as a standard of efficiency, much like Total Quality Management (zero defects) and Just-In-Time (zero inventory).
For governments, the full use of raw materials creates new industries and generates jobs even as it raises productivity. Moreover, it provides the means to feed, clothe and house their populations without destroying the ability of future generations to do the same.
ZERI started by developing its theoretical concept of Zero Emissions into a methodology that can be applied to any industry. This can be summarized as follows:
1. TOTAL THOUGHPUT: A review of the industry indentifies opportunities to minimize inputs and maximize outputs. The target is full use of inputs; i.e. total throughput. If this cannot be achieved, the next step of the methodology is applied.
2. OUTPUT - INPUT MODELS: An inventory is made of all "wastes", i.e. outputs not consumed in the final product or its process of manufacture. An active search is then initiated to identify industries which could use the outputs, or modified versions of them, as inputs.
3. INDUSTRIAL CLUSTERS: The Output - Input models are used to determine potential candidates for clustering. The next step is to identify optimal clusters in terms of size and number of participating industries.
4. BREAKTHOUGH TECHNOLOGIES: In cases where present engineering know-how, product and process technologies are not yet able to secure effective and economical coupling of outputs and inputs, research into breakthrough technologies or system designs is initiated.
5. INDUSTRIAL POLICY: Identification of clusters and isolation of the breakthroughs required must be accompanied by the design of appropriate government policies. As sectors with no previous tradition of working together are combined, collaborative efforts involving policy makers, industry representatives and academia are launched.
6. THE GLOBAL INFORMATION ECONOMY: The rapid spread of the Internet opens up an additional information channel for ZERI design dialogues. We can now publish our existing models online and invite the world to critique and improve them through a global dialogue about Zero Emissions - which is the ultimate function of our website.