Industrial Symbiosis

Tolefors AgroEtanol

In this research group we concentrate on long-term cooperation among local and regional actors that enable more productive utilisation of available resources. These symbiotic processes create business value, improve environmental performance, enhance innovation capacity and strengthen regional sustainability. 

Our work involves improving the understanding of existing industrial symbiosis networks as well as supporting the development of new industrial and urban symbiotic processes towards a circular economy. Bio-resources, urban and industrial actors, and innovation and transition processes are key areas of foci in our work.

More specifically, our research is about increasing the value of underutilized material and energy resources, for example, biogas as a fuel for vehicle or by-products from other sectors that can help to improve the environmental performance of cement. Our research is carried out in close interaction with the surrounding businesses, cities and other sectors.  Many organisations already has established and well-functioning ways to work with improving productivity. However there is still much untapped potential for collaboration and creating synergies.

The industrial symbiosis can enable local and regional actors to cooperate and jointly create economic and environmental benefits. Collaboration can be done is different ways, for example, waste products from one company can easily become commodity for another. Similarly two or more actors can share the same infrastructure to provide services and supply products. Collaboration can also foster innovations and help to build knowledge base.

The industrial symbiosis research group coordinates the activities within the Biogas Research Center and research within the systems area of the competence center. This research addresses the challenge of strategic decision-making in the biogas sector. Decision-making support regarding substrates, technology and markets are developed through multi-criteria assessments. Furthermore, assessment of economic and environmental performance of present and future biogas solutions is another focus area of the research. Identification of critical factors and uncertainty handling through probability assessments are important outcomes of research.

Researchers in the industrial symbiosis group coordinates a national network "Swedish Initiative for Industrial Symbiosis" of private and public actors interested in the development of the industrial symbiosis knowledge area in Sweden.

With the purpose to share information about industrial symbiosis networks operational in Sweden and make the learnings they provide available to a wider audience the research group have created an Industrial Symbiosis portal. The examples shown here are research results of Master students and researchers at the division of Environmental Technology and Management.

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