Industrial Symbiosis

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Industrial symbiosis
( brief summary made by Prof Randall Coffie Goedhoop)
Published: February 27, 2008
Lead Author: Marian Chertow

This article has been reviewed by the following Topic Editor: Reid Lifset Industrial symbiosis is part of a new field called industrial ecology. Industrial ecology is principally concerned with the flow of materials and energy through systems at different scales, from products to factories and up to national and global levels. Industrial symbiosis focuses on these flows through networks of businesses and other organizations in local and regional economies as a means of approaching ecologically sustainable industrial development. Industrial symbiosis engages traditionally separate industries in a collective approach to competitive advantage involving physical exchange of materials, energy, water, and/or by-products. The keys to industrial symbiosis are collaboration and the synergistic possibilities offered by geographic proximity. Introduction

The term 'industrial symbiosis' was coined in the small municipality of Kalundborg, Denmark, where a well-developed network of dense firm interactions was encountered. The primary partners in Kalundborg, including an oil refinery, a power station, a gypsum board facility, and a pharmaceutical company, share ground water, surface water, wastewater, steam, and fuel, and they also exchange a variety of by-products that become feedstocks in other processes. High levels of environmental and economic efficiency have been achieved, leading to many other less tangible benefits involving personnel, equipment, and information sharing. Many other examples of industrial symbiosis exist around the world and illustrate how the concept is applied. This article provides definitions of industrial symbiosis and related terms and discusses many elements of industrial symbiosis such as energy and water cascading, cogeneration, and materials exchange. It examines tools such as input/output matching, stakeholder processes, and materials tracking. The article discusses how industrial symbiosis is a useful umbrella term because it can describe exchanges across entities regardless of whether they are colocated, located near one another but not contiguous, or located within a broader spatial area such as regionally. It also examines technical and regulatory considerations that have come into play in various locations that can facilitate or inhibit industrial symbiosis. Finally, it considers future directions with regard to industrial symbiosis based on historical and current experience. Definition of industrial symbiosis and related terms

The term 'symbiosis' builds on the notion of mutualism in biological communities where at least two otherwise unrelated species exchange materials, energy, or information in a mutually beneficial manner. So, too, industrial symbiosis consists of place-based exchanges among different entities that yield a collective benefit greater than the sum of individual benefits that could be achieved by acting alone. Such collaboration can also increase social capital among the participants. As described in what follows, the symbioses need not occur within the strict boundaries of a park, despite the popular use of the term 'eco-industrial park' to describe organizations engaging in exchanges. At the same time interest began to develop in industrial symbiosis and eco-industrial parks, a number of other parallel tracks advanced that might be construed, broadly, as green development. These include residential, commercial, industrial, and community development as captured in terms such as sustainable architecture, green buildings, sustainable communities, and smart growth. Eco-industrial development or sustainable industrial development narrows down the possibilities to refer predominantly to industrial and commercial activities and, increasingly, agriculture. Cooperating businesses that include a materials/water/energy exchange or sharing component...
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