Industrial Ecology


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This report summarizes the work done by students in the Industrial Ecology
class at the University of Oregon during fall term 2010. The students explored
industrial ecology concepts to evaluate opportunities in two business cases in
the Salem area: the City of Salem’s Willow Lake Water Pollution Control Facility
(Willow Lake) and NORPAC Foods, Inc. (NORPAC). The students worked on
the two cases through five separate projects – three for Willow Lake and two for
At Willow Lake, the objective was to evaluate the feasibility of transforming
waste to energy and reclaiming water generated by the facility.
• Project #1 investigated the feasibility of adopting a fuel cell that would
replace the current generator to generate energy from the methane
produced by the current digester at the facility.
The students recommended that Willow Lake continue with traditional
cogeneration technology and deploy an 848 kW replacement engine.
Included with the students’ project report was an Excel financial model for
Willow Lake to examine and use to further refine understanding of the likely
effects of each replacement alternative.
• Project #2 assessed the feasibility of a symbiotic partnership between
SeQuential-Pacific Biodiesel (SeQuential) and Willow Lake through an
evaluation of the environmental and financial implications of biodigestion of
grease trap waste. Students found that, at the level of accuracy currently
available, a partnership between Willow Lake and SeQuential has
environmental and financial benefits. They recommend that SeQuential and
Willow Lake continue to investigate the methane production potential of this
waste to determine an appropriate tipping fee (a charge levied by a waste
treatment facility to accept waste).
• Project #3 identified opportunities for Willow Lake to secure a long-term
water supply and reduce wastewater discharge impacts through water
reclamation. The case studies and cost analysis show that the use of
reclaimed water in the region under the current system is not cost effective.
However, future water supply and discharge limitations indicate the need to
start considering multiple reclamation alternatives now. At NORPAC, the objective was to evaluate opportunities to reuse, recycle, or
compost waste generated from facilities in Brooks, Stayton, and Salem.
• Project #4 proposed a viable strategy for NORPAC to achieve its goal
of conserving and recycling nutrients in its facilities by discovering
opportunities to reuse, recycle, or compost the waste generated by
operations. While each has its own benefits and challenges, the alternative
with the highest revenue potential and environmental benefits to NORPAC
is vermicomposting. Specifically, NORPAC could create a partnership with Oregon Soil Corporation to develop a vermicomposting (worm composting)
• Project #5 assessed the current disposal solution for defective cans and
evaluated three potential strategies for a more sustainable disposal process.
The students recommended NORPAC take a two-pronged approach to
restructure its current disposal process. In the short term (0-6 months),
NORPAC could centralize can collection at the Madrona (Salem) facility and
recycle 100% of its defective cans internally. In the long run (6 months and
longer), NORPAC could partner with Recology to establish an ongoing waste
disposal program, integrating other local canneries into this waste disposal

Read the final student report delivered to the local gov/community partner.

Sustainable City Year Program Contact Info
Megan Banks
Sustainable City Year Program Manager
(541) 346-6395

University Faculty Contact
Jennifer Howard-Grenville

Local Government / Community Contact
Annie Gorski

Urban Development Project Manager

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