Decarbonisation Technology May 2022 Issue

An EU project aims to enhance the knowledge base for industrial symbiosis to ensure data accuracy and comparability in existing and new IS initiatives CORALIS: industrial symbiosis in energy-intensive industries

Danai Antonaki White Research Manuel Gomez CIRCE

I ndustrial symbiosis (IS) is becoming increasingly necessary due to the growing awareness of the need to reduce pollution and emissions as well as increase resource and energy efficiency. These concerns have reached industrial parks around the world, leading to the promotion of IS activities. These can be defined as communities of manufacturing and service businesses seeking enhanced environmental and economic performance through collaboration in managing environmental and resource issues, including energy, water, and materials (Bellantuono et al. , 2017). By working together, the communities seek collective benefits that are greater than the sum of the individual benefits each company would accomplish independently (Domenech et al, 2018). Industrial symbiosis efforts so far Increasing interest in IS has already led to the investment of over €130 million in European research projects since 2006, which have focused on the development of methodologies, tools, software, platforms, or networks that facilitate the uptake of IS by different economic actors (Dhanorkar, et al. , 2015). In fact, due to the complex task of identifying and assessing opportunities for IS, as well as selecting the most appropriate solutions from a broad range of options, many research efforts have been directed towards the definition of the most attractive IS activities rather than their implementation, management, and follow-up. Consequently, there is a lack of knowledge in the operation of IS solutions and, as a result, issues such as capacity building or

the overcoming of non-technical barriers are major challenges in current approaches for implementing IS synergies. In addition, the results of these projects and initiatives have usually been disseminated individually and with a limited audience, which makes them insufficiently visible or accessible for managers of IS, while most of the active IS networks lack a monitoring framework or harmonised mechanisms of data collection and quantification of benefits (Domenech, 2018). For this reason, the full understanding of their practical value for specific cases is hampered, and there is not enough clarity about existing gaps for the further implementation of IS solutions. All in all, there is a need to enhance the knowledge base for IS in Europe, which must be supported by harmonised frameworks and data reporting structures that ensure data accuracy and comparability in existing and new IS initiatives. The availability of new data in IS should further promote its implementation and market uptake in the EU, shed light on the added value of facilitators, and steer the transition towards a circular economy within industrial areas. Therefore, even though examples of successful IS activities exist in Europe and enabling technologies have been around for a while, IS implementation has yet to address several barriers to its uptake in the EU. Market potential for IS in Europe The untapped potential of IS is increasingly attracting attention in the EU. In the meantime, given that the industrial sector accounts for about one-third of global energy demand,


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