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Scaling European Resources with Industrial Symbiosis

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SCALER (Scaling European Resources with Industrial Symbiosis)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-10-31

The European process industry is one of the main pillars of Europe’s economy. But as of today, this industry is energy and resource intensive, with significant carbon emissions and a high dependence on resource availability. This not only puts a strain on our planet’s resources but also contributes to climate change.
A systemic approach is needed to address this – not only by implementing circular systems at the factory level but also at the industry level. We need to view manufacturing processes as part of a larger picture, taking into consideration waste treatment and management, energy use and materials sourcing.
Consideration of all stakeholder needs is required to scale-up industrial symbiosis in Europe. We have identified key challenges to a large development of the practice, at the levels of industrial sites, regions and European institutions:
• Lack of awareness of industrial symbiosis and its benefits at site level
• Lack of guidelines to carry out assessments of internal equipment, human and immaterial site resources
• Availability of networking opportunities to match with other sites and sectors
• Absence of assessment tools to validate the viability of potential partnerships
SCALER (SCALing European Resources with industrial symbiosis) aims to increase the uptake of industrial symbiosis across Europe. Under the European Union’s Horizon2020 initiative, the project will develop a set of best practices, tools, and guidelines, helping businesses and industrial sites work together to ensure sustainable resource use.
Our vision is to successfully scale up the delivery of value embedded in European physical resources (materials, water, and energy) through the efficient and quick implementation of industrial symbiosis across the whole European territory. By achieving industrial symbiosis, European industrial companies will become more resource efficient and therefore more competitive. Territories will be revitalised with industrial links. Communities will be involved in the transformation of the European industrial system.
The basis of industrial symbiosis is to move away from traditional take-make-dispose production and consumption flows, building partnerships between industries to turn waste into new materials and resources.
Sharing resources between industrial sites saves raw material and energy consumption, reducing pollution and diverting waste from landfill. It creates new business opportunities and jobs from residues and by-products and contributes to closing the loop for industrial resources.
Industrial symbiosis offers a great opportunity for companies to work together in finding cost-effective, sustainable solutions to dispose of their waste. This not only has a positive impact on industry revenue but leads the way to transitioning cities and regions towards more sustainable and eco-friendly industrial practices.
SCALER was launched in November 2017 and will have a duration of 2.5 years. Up to April 2019, we have worked identification of best practices, enabling technologies, key intermediaries and at testing tools & methods to boost the application of industrial symbiosis in the process industry. This will support the definition of pathways to move from anecdotal one-off synergies to a systemic search for synergies as a means to increase resource productivity and competitiveness. From this work resulted in the following deliverables:
• D2.1 – “Lessons learnt and best practices for enhancing industrial symbiosis in the process industry”
• D2.2 – “Key technologies and intermediaries for industrial symbiosis ideation and implementation”
• D2.3 – “Incentives assessment – How to incentive industrial symbiosis preventing and mitigating implementation risks”
Another line of work was the assessment of the potential for industrial symbiosis in Europe. One of the tasks is the mapping of industrial facilities in Europe. This task builds on the work already achieved in the EPOS Project. STRANE has developed a geolocated database of refineries, steel plants, cement plants, chemical clusters and cities of more than 1 000 inhabitants in Europe, split by segments. In SCALER we will upgrade the database to other process industries.
We have identified, characterized and assessed flows & synergies. We assessed the industrial processes in several sectors (refining, steel, cement, minerals, chemicals, and district heating) and developed a database of input and output flows, and a unified taxonomy to identify automatically matching flows across industries. The level of detail goes down to individual processes. More than 1 000 individual synergies were identified and these were screened to isolate the 100 most promising ones.
We started the development of a technology database for the 100 synergy setups. this task will identify the best available and emerging techniques and technologies for IS synergy implementation, assuring technical and economic feasibility as well as positive environmental and social impacts. The environmental impacts of the synergies are being assessed using the LCA methodology. From this work resulted in the following deliverables:
• D3.1 – “Short list of the 100 most promising synergies”
• D3.2 – “Technology database template & guide for upgrading”
Industrial symbiosis offers a wealth of advantages for various stakeholders, ranging from increased business revenue to greener cities and regions, positively impacting both businesses and the ecosystems around them. Whether you are a business, industrial site, local authority or non-profit organisation, you can make the most of industrial symbiosis and the many benefits it presents.
Industrial symbiosis offers many economic benefits to companies: its value can derive from selling or exchanging industrial waste, saving costs on raw materials, cutting expenses linked to waste disposal and expanding market reach and revenue from by-products. Industrial symbiosis is a key enabling component of circular economy, helping industries transition from expensive and unsustainable production systems to viable, income-generating and greener manufacturing designs.
Transfer and sharing of resources between industrial sites mean less sourcing of raw materials, more recycling of energy and water and less waste going to landfill. This has a major impact on the environment as it avoids overexploiting land, water shortages and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The industrial sector accounts for 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Industrial symbiosis can help reduce this impact and contribute to meeting the requirements of the Paris agreement.
Implementing circular industrial systems based on resource sharing and reuse allows neighbouring regions and cities, and their populations, to benefit from greener ecosystems with less strain on local resources, stronger regional economies, and increased employment opportunities. It leads the pathway and sets an example for sustainable product manufacturing and use, with a major impact on territorial conservation and reduction of landfill in surrounding areas.
SCALER overview