Industrial Symbiosis Platform in Italy
WHEN: 2011-present (Ongoing)
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Prevention: Replacement – Reduction; Preparing for reuse; Recycling: Reuse – Reprocessing
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Voluntary / promotional (e.g.: business support schemes, green public procurement, infrastructure, fiscal measures)
WASTE STREAMS: Municipal waste, Packaging waste, Construction and demolition waste, Plastics, Agricultural waste, Wood waste, Food and organic waste, Agro-industrial waste
About: The development and implementation of the first Platform for Industrial Symbiosis in Italy took place in Sicily in the period 2011-2015, in the framework of Eco-Innovazione Sicilia project.
The whole approach includes: network activation, platform architecture design and implementation, analysis of the productive sector in Sicily, data collection and companies involvement.
In particular the paper focuses on the activities developed for companies’ network creation trough a preliminary analysis of the predominant productive sectors followed by the organization of operative meetings in Sicily for companies’ involvement, analysis of potential synergies and resources sharing, and finally platform population.
During the first two meetings more than 80 SME were linked giving rise to almost 400 output resources and almost 180 input resources. More than 690 potential matches were found between the participating enterprises showing interesting opportunities both for substituting resources with by- products in real and virtual cases and for sharing waste management services and infrastructures.
The discussions occurred during the meetings has remarked the significance and the consequences of the regulatory and control system on IS application, underlining the necessary participation of local stakeholders and control authorities.
It has also emerged the need to identify predominant productive activities in well-defined territorial contexts where to investigate the specific/local tangles taking into account legislative and technical-economic feasibility.
Technical dossiers on three main resource streams (wastes from processing stone materials; plastics and agro-industrial wastes), which may generate the more interesting potential synergies, are being processed. These dossiers include European, Italian and regional regulations, guidelines, technical standards, logistic and economical aspects useful for supporting companies in synergies implementation. Results of this activity will also be used to improve the algorithm in the platform to find synergies.
The objectives of the project were: to provide a methodology and an instrument for industrial symbiosis implementation at regional scale, to implement a Industrial Symbiosis Platform as a support to SMEs-Small and medium-sized enterprises to individuate symbiosis opportunities in the region.
- Finalizing 20 synergies out of 100 potential ones found in the symbiosis match making events is a great result, while 10 is a realistic number.
1. Knowhow: There were involved universities, research institutes, private companies, authorities (for cheking), companies associations, chambers of commerce, etc.
2. Funding budget: 610.000 EUR
3. Material resources: 250.000 EUR
4. Human resources: 200.000 EUR
5. Promulgation: November 2017
• ENEA developed the first Industrial Symbiosis Platform in Italy, acting as a tool in the service of business and territory and offering a range of tools that may be of interest especially for SMEs. The core and the novelty of the platform are represented by the possibility to find matches by using an algorithm that links output with inputs and vice-versa, finding suitable opportunities among companies involved in the platform.
• A methodology was followed for industrial symbiosis implementation at local scale with a network approach;
• Activities were addressed at the consultation with stakeholders, in Sicily and at national level; the Sicilian productive system was investigated and then companies were involved in operative meetings for resources sharing, potential synergies individuation and finally for platform population and validation.
• During the meetings 80 SME were involved and almost 400 output resources and almost 180 input resources were shared by companies. More than 690 potential matches were found between the participating companies.
• Results also highlighted the needs of identify predominant productive activities in well-defined territorial contexts where to investigate the specific/local tangles involving legislative and technical-economic feasibility.
• Potential synergies verification from a technical, regulatory, logistic and economic point of view was performed for a selected group of synergies (agro-industrial waste; construction and demolition wastes, residues of ornamental stone processing and other residue to be utilized in construction field).
• Operative handbooks on the cited two main resource flows, which may generate the more interesting potential synergies, will be developed. These handbooks include European, Italian and regional regulations, guidelines, technical regulations, standards, logistic and economical aspects and more in general describe the pathways to be done in order to go from the idea till the actual implementation of the match.
Urban metabolism relevance
At the European level, the potential contribution of industrial symbiosis to sustainable production and EU industry competitiveness was recognized in the Resource Efficient Europe flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
The Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, which is part of the Resource Efficiency Flagship initiative, points out that improving the reuse of raw materials through greater „industrial symbiosis” could save EUR 1.4 billion a year across the EU and generate EUR 1.6 billion in sales.
With the aim to boost efficient production, the roadmap stipulates that Member States should help companies work together to make the best use of the waste and by-products they produce e.g. by exploiting industrial symbiosis.
The Circular Economy Action Plan of the EU urges to promote innovative industrial processes including industrial symbiosis.
In addition to decreasing the amount of waste produced, the analyzed practice adopts sustainable business models to recover materials, heat and energy.
The platform, whose main objective is to help in launching industrial symbiosis through a geo-referred information system support, acts as a tool in the service of business and territory and also offers a range of tools that may be of interest and use especially for SMEs.
Many technical solutions for waste and byproduct materials, water, and energy reuse between neighboring industries have been discovered and applied.
Some material flow analysis were carried out, including:
– Basalt and mixed sawing silt, shot blasting residues and broken slabs that can be re-used by a road construction company as aggregates and by others companies in bricks and ceramics production.
– The verification of the possibility of using bottom ashes from special waste incineration in road construction
– Various metals that can be recovered etc.
MFA (material flows analysis) have been conducted, the purpose being that to adopt sustainable business models to recover materials, heat and energy. For example, the results of „Potential matches verification and potential synergies implementation” return that in the category „materials”, companies were interested to share as output prevalently packaging (19%), plastics and plastic products (15%), metals and metal products (11%), organic chemicals (10%), water (8%), materials from agriculture (8%), construction and demolition wastes (6%).
As input the resources more requested were: foodstuffs (31%), organic chemicals (21%) and fuels, products from livestock and fisheries, construction and demolition wastes (6%).
A total of 165 potential matches were found, involving prevalently materials (53%) and expertise, consultancy and services (37%). Matches were mainly related to plastics and plastic products (16%), metals and metal products (16), municipal wastewater treatment sludge (11%), construction and demolition wastes (10%). From the workshop held in Catania good results have been achieved (Table 4): 529 potential matches were found starting from 187 outputs (37% materials, 35% expertise, 16% equipment) and 91 input resources (66% materials, 23% expertise, consultancy and services). The sharing was more balanced for output resources.
The practice of industrial symbiosis can be supported by LCA, LCC and S-LCA for the assessment of scenarios with and without industrial symbiosis. During the implementation of the project in Sicily LCT was not used, while it has been used in other industrial symbiosis application made by ENEA. We strongly suggest complementing industrial symbiosis strategy with LCT assessment.
In industrial ecosystems efficiency and optimization of resources and energy, waste minimization and enhancement of the products represent an important strategy in a perspective of circular economy.
The practice enhance dematerialization by creating a collaborative framework between societies for the efficient use of materials.
The core and the novelty of the platform are represented by the possibility to find matches by using an algorithm that links output with inputs (with a logic one-to-many) or vice versa, by means of strings, linking one type of output with its potential productive destinations (or vice versa).
The practice provide an original methodology and an instrument for industrial symbiosis implementation at regional scale, to implement a IS Platform as a support to SMEs to individuate symbiosis opportunities in the region. The whole approach includes: network activation, platform architecture design and implementation, analysis of the productive sector in Sicily, data collection and companies involvement.
Engaged participatory processes
The initiative is based on the close cooperation between various stakeholders: 80 SME, Italian agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA), Con-findustria Sicilia, Camera di Commercio di Siracusa, Università di Catania, Consorzio Interu-niversitario Nazionale per l’Ingegneria delle Georisorse – Roma;, Università degli Studi della Tuscia – Viterbo; Abtract srl – IT company, Roma, etc.
The engagement tools of stakeholders included various discussions, motivational interviewing, consultations, environmental legislation assessment, etc.
More than 690 potential matches were found between the participating enterprises showing in-teresting opportunities both for substituting resources with waste products in real and virtual cases and for sharing waste management services and infrastructures. The discussions occurred during the meeting has remarked the significance and the consequences of the regulatory and control system on IS application, underlining the necessary participation of local stakeholders and control authorities.
All the engagement processes were reached, from consultation of all stakeholders, participation of stakeholders and co-construction.
The practice proposed to adopt a novel business models such as industrial symbiosis to recover materials, heat and energy.
The platform reunites all the engaged parties, offering a range of tools, that were in the interest of SMEs and other stakeholders involved.
Sustainability and replicability
The practice once created the links between the stakeholders and the rules of collaboration between them is sustainable and promote an effective way for a collaborative model of circular economy within companies and other stakeholders.
During the meetings 80 SME were involved and almost 400 output resources and almost 180 input resources were shared by companies. More than 690 potential matches were found between the participating companies.
The practice is replicable, and highly relevant for being implemented in other areas at every scale, depending on the technical and economic feasibility of synergies. The IS Platform works according to the network approach but can be used also as a tool for the implementation of IS in eco-industrial parks.
Regional and local authorities can also take initiative to bring together relevant actors and establish eco-industrial parks with an overall aim to promote industrial symbiosis.
- Meeting on the Platform of various stakeholders who can collaborate through synergies
- For the platform, the SYMBIOSIS trademark has been registered at Community level and is used in all industrial symbiosis applications that ENEA has implemented in recent years both in Italy and abroad
- During 2018 the IT platform was technically reviewed and the current application shows better performances.
- The platform was used both in projects with a network approach and in industrial areas with an eco-industrial park approach
Waste, Resources, Innovation.
- Valorization of scraps;
- Collaboration among companies;
- Input-ouput data collection and analysis,
- Stakeholders involvement and collaboration.