1st SPIRE Thematic Workshop on Industrial Symbiosis

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The first SPIRE Thematic Workshop took place on 30 March at the Silken Hotel Brussels with the topic of Industrial Symbiosis (IS). The workshop is the first of a series of Thematic Workshops to be organised by SPIRE with future themes chosen by the SPIRE community.

The full-day workshop saw a morning session that gave industry perspectives on IS from representatives of SPIRE sectors including cement, steel, engineering, chemicals, water and ceramics. This session was concluded with an example of IS in action from the Smart Delta Resource initiative in Zeeland.

After lunch aspects of IS methodology were outlined by representatives of SPIRE projects MAESTRI, EPOS and SHAREBOX and the IS related objectives of the RESYNTEX project described. The workshop was concluded by an extended panel discussion examining how SPIRE can support the development of IS in its future activities.

The discussion and presentations brought out a number of key success factors for IS. The concept of IS is not new to many parts of the SPIRE community, but the need to spread and develop the concept between sectors to maximise resource and energy efficiency and develop the circular economy is clear. SPIRE projects are developing tools and collecting case studies that can help to identify IS opportunities and highlight benefits.

A crucial aspect in developing successful IS initiatives is establishing trust between the parties involved. Equitable sharing of risk and reward is needed to move projects forward and the use of facilitators to enable data sharing and communication can be useful. Regulatory issues can be a barrier to IS in particular through restrictions on cross-border trade in ‘waste’ and financing for implementing relatively small IS projects can also problematic.

There is a clear role for SPIRE as a cross-sectorial platform to promote the uptake of IS across European process industry and beyond into wider manufacturing. The tools and portfolio of case study libraries that SPIRE projects are developing will be a very valuable assets to spread the word on industrial symbiosis, business cases and sustainable cooperative strategies so as to identify opportunities and initiate new material and energy flows.

You can find a full report on the workshop here