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External Limiting Factors


The production of product from the renewable inflow of energy is limited by the inflow of an (external) limiting factor.


  • The production of grass in a field can be limited by nutrients even if there is enough sunlight.
  • In production of electricity in a coal power plant, the inflow of coal is limited because there are a fixed number of available miners.
  • Diagram


    I = inflow of renewable energy
    J = external limiting factor
    N = internal nonlimiting factor
    P = product
    K1 = efficiency of the production process


    N = J/(1 + K3*I)
    P = K1*I*N


    The graph shows the production of P in function of the source I. (red: entered value of J. blue: J increased by 5)
    Source code:

    "What if" Experiments:

  • What is the effect of increasing the inflow of the limiting factor J?
  • How would the graph look like if the production process was more efficient?