Exergy-based sustainability analysis of food production systems

Document Type : Review


Department of Mechanical Engineering of Agricultural Machinery, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran


As the global population continues to grow, the sustainability of food production systems is increasingly critical, coupled
with escalating environmental concerns. Traditional sustainability assessments primarily focus on resource consumption and waste generation, often overlooking the overall efficiency and quality of energy and matter flows within these systems. This comprehensive review paper explores the potential of the exergy concept as a holistic and comprehensive approach to assessing the sustainability of food production systems. Exergy analysis offers valuable insights into the thermodynamic efficiency, resource utilization, and environmental impacts of these systems. By incorporating exergy principles into sustainability assessments, researchers and policymakers can better understand the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement in food production systems. This paper highlights key studies and applications that have utilized the exergy concept, discussing its benefits and limitations. It also examines the theoretical foundations of exergy and its integration into the analysis of food production systems. The potential of exergy-based analysis as a comprehensive and thermodynamically grounded methodology for evaluating the sustainability of food production systems is explored. The review addresses the advantages, challenges, and potential future directions of exergy-based analysis in the food industry, aiming to foster further research and development.

Graphical Abstract

Exergy-based sustainability analysis of food production systems


  • This review paper aims to investigate the potential of the exergy concept as a holistic and comprehensive approach to assessing the sustainability of food production systems.
  • While exergy-based analyses have been conducted on certain food production plants, using exergoeconomic and exergoenvironmental analyses for these systems has been relatively limited.
  • Future research efforts should be directed toward applying advanced exergy-based methods to analyze existing and emerging food production systems.


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