Joo Young Park

Joo Young Park

Yale University, Ph.D.
EREF Scholar 2010

Waste as Resources: Utilization of Coal Combustion By-products in the United States

Project Description (while EREF Scholar):
In 2008, coal-fired power plants in the U.S. generated over 120 million metric tons of coal combustion by-products (CCBs).  This amount was equivalent to the half of total municipal solid waste generated in the same year.  Also, according to the industrial waste statistics from 1980s, CCBs was the third largest waste stream next to “primary iron and steel” and “fertilizer and other agricultural chemicals” waste.  The generation of CCBs is expected to grow even further considering that the coal remains as an inexpensive and abundant fuel source for electricity generation.  As large quantity materials, CCBs pose considerable burdens on landfill space and raise exposure concerns from flooding.  However, at the same time, CCBs are well-known materials for their valuable uses in construction, agricultural and mining applications.  Various reuse options have been developed and utilization of CCBs has become worldwide common practices.  For example, in 2006, 43% of CCBs generated were beneficially utilized in the U.S. while 93% were reused in 15 countries in European Union and 97% in Japan.  Furthermore, lessons from accumulated experiences in CCB utilization can be used to facilitate reuse of other types of waste materials.

The aim of the proposed research is comprehensive understandings of CCB utilization in the U.S., both from the societal and individual firm’s perspective, in order to draw general implications for waste and secondary resource management.  Despite distinctive role of waste reuse in transforming unsustainable structure of our economy, achieving sufficient level of waste reuse is regarded to be challenging and the lack of understandings of waste reuse behaviors have hindered expansion of waste reuse practices.  Considering that “mining” useful materials from waste is likely to be prevalent in the future, better understandings about secondary resource management is vital.  Towards this goal, this research adopts following three approaches: (1) explore the pattern of CCB reuse across the States that will be explained by various economic, technical and regulatory factors, (2) analyze the historical development of CCB management by tracing changes in regulation, technology and institutional environment, and (3) evaluate inter-firm dynamics that govern transactions of CCBs between generators (coal-fired power plant) and users of CCBs (i.e., cement or concrete industries).

Jooyoung is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Center for Industrial Ecology at Yale University.  Her research focuses at the intersection of waste and resource management, aiming to understand how industrial waste evolves into resources and how industries behave to utilize waste.  To this end, she is interested in adopting interdisciplinary approaches from economics, strategic management and industrial ecology.  Industrial ecology is an emerging area of study that inspires her to enlarge perspectives to address environmental issues from technical end-of-pipe orientation to holistic and complex systems approach.  Before joining Yale, she studied at Seoul National University in South Korea and earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil, Urban and Geosystems Engineering.

Research Publications:
Joo Young Park and Marian R. Chertow (2013) Establishing and testing the “reuse potential” indicator for managing wastes as resources. Journal of Environmental Management, 137 (45 – 53)

Joo Young Park and Clare Gupta (2015) Evaluating localism in the management of post-consumer plastic bottles in Honolulu, Hawai’i: Perspectives from industrial ecology and political ecology, Journal of Environmental Management, 154 (299 – 306)

Joo Young Park and Hung-Suck Park (2014) Securing a Competitive Advantage through Industrial Symbiosis Development: The Case of Steam Networking Practices in Ulsan, Journal of Industrial Ecology, 18 (677 – 683)

Joo Young Park (2014) The evolution of waste into a resource: Examining innovation intechnologies reusing coal combustion by-products using patent data, Research Policy, 43 (1816 – 1826)