Cleaner Production

Industrial Symbiosis

Industrial Symbiosis is a union between two or more industrial facilities or companies one of which turns the by-products of the other into raw materials for itself. Industrial Symbiosis brings two independent companies together and supports their environmental, economic and social development.

Industrial Symbiosis contributes to reduced natural resource consumption, environmental emissions, resource and waste disposal costs as well as the generation of revenues from waste/by-products, the creation of new business opportunities and regional development.

Development of Industrial Symbiosis Concept

A project was carried out in 1961 to use surface water from Lake Tissø for a new oil refinery process in order to save ground waters from the Kalundborg region. While this project was financed by a refinery company, the Kalundborg city administration formed cooperation by undertaking the construction of a pipeline laying the foundations of industrial symbiosis.

The industrial symbiosis concept was not used in the 1980s yet. The article "Strategies for Manufacturing" published by Robert A. Frosch and Nicholas E. Gallopoulos in 1989 referred to the use of industrial wastes as raw materials in other processes for the first time.

The industrial partnership, created in 1961 in Kalundborg, continued with the establishment of the Kalundborg Symbiosis Union in 1996. This concept spread across Europe with the launching of the UK National Industrial Symbiosis Program in 2005 and the establishment of the European Industrial Symbiosis Association in 2013.


Figure 1 Development of Industrial Symbiosis Concept