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Emergy and exergy analyses: Complementary methods or irreducible ideological options?


  • Sciubba, Enrico
  • Ulgiati, Sergio


The paper discusses the similarities and the incompatibilities between two forms of Energy Analysis (exergy and emergy, ‘EXA’ and ‘EMA’ in the following), both of which try to represent the behavior of physical systems by means of cumulative energy input/output methods that result in a double integration over space and time domains. Theoretical background, definitions and balance algebra are discussed first, in a ‘statement–counterstatement’ format that helps pinpointing differences and similarities.

Suggested Citation

  • Sciubba, Enrico & Ulgiati, Sergio, 2005. "Emergy and exergy analyses: Complementary methods or irreducible ideological options?," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 30(10), pages 1953-1988.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:30:y:2005:i:10:p:1953-1988
    DOI: 10.1016/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosen, M.A., 1992. "Evaluation of energy utilization efficiency in Canada using energy and exergy analyses," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 339-350.
    2. Wall, Göran & Sciubba, Enrico & Naso, Vincenzo, 1994. "Exergy use in the Italian society," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 19(12), pages 1267-1274.
    3. Grethlein, Hans E. & Nelson, Thomas B., 1992. "Projected Process Economics for Ethanol Production from Corn," USDA Miscellaneous 322766, United States Department of Agriculture.
    4. Brown, M. T. & Herendeen, R. A., 1996. "Embodied energy analysis and EMERGY analysis: a comparative view," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 219-235, December.
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