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The Industrial Matebolism of Chlorine in China

Ning Yang1, Dingjiang Chen1, Shanying Hu1, and Yong Jin2. (1) Center for Industrial Ecology, Department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, (2) Department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Chlorine plays important roles in chemical industry. Not only it is component of many important products, but also it is essential of many chemical processes, even though it dose not appear in final products. Because a number of chlorine products and byproducts are unfriendly to the public health and the environment, the developed countries are tending to reduce uses of chlorine. However, developing countries with fast economic growth, like China, can't exactly follow the developed countries' steps in the foreseen two or three decades. Currently the development strategy of China's chlorine related industries is to make it work more efficiently. It is important to solve problems such as how to improve conversion efficiency, save resources and properly dispose byproducts and wastes. Applying approaches of SFA, MFA and Bulk-MFA, this paper presents multi-views of China's chlorine industrial metabolism in 2003 on life-cycle scale. The big pictures start from resource exploitation stage, to manufacturing processes, to products consumption and material recycle, and to final environmental dissipation. The three analyses respectively focus on chlorine elements, chlorine relative materials and bulk materials flows on a national level, throughout the whole life-cycle process. The primary research shows that current major problems of China's chlorine industrial metabolism are superfluous of HCl as a byproduct, the loss of inorganic chloride used as fertilizer, most of which disperse into the soil unnecessarily. Such kind of information is valuable to identify inconsistencies, unreasonable factors and bottlenecks in the chlorine's industrial metabolic system in China, and helpful to draw out so-called circular economic strategies.

Keywords: chlorine, industrial metabolism, substance flow analysis, material flow analysis, Bulk-material flow analysis