Exergy and Ecology

  • Sven Erik Jørgensen
Part of the Ecology & Environment book series (ECOLEN, volume 3)


The cells that form the basic units of ecosystems are the result of a long evolutionary process from organic soup to protobiont, to protocells and further on to ever more complex cells with very complicated anabolic (synthesizing) and information development processes. A wide spectrum of biochemical compounds with specific functions is produced in the cells. This ability is preserved by the use of a very sophisticated genetic function and code to assure that no significant information is lost. The first part of evolution after the appearance of the ‘inorganic soup’, which characterized the earth some 3600-4000 million years ago, was based on randomly produced organic compounds. The repeated use of ‘trial and error’ processes found new pathways to create organization and move further away from the thermodynamic equilibrium, corresponding to the inorganic soup. The system was moving further and further away from equilibrium, due to an average net negentropy gain per unit of time, utilized for the development of new pathways.


Thermodynamic Equilibrium Entropy Production Buffer Capacity Force Function Exergy Efficiency 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven Erik Jørgensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Danish School of PharmacySection for Environmental ChemistryCopenhagenDenmark

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