Analyzing the environmental benefits of industrial symbiosis

Laura Sokka (Corresponding Author), S. Lehtoranta, A. Nissinen, M. Melanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies of industrial symbiosis (IS) focus on the physical flows of materials and energy in local industrial systems. In an ideal IS, waste material and energy are shared or exchanged among the actors of the system, thereby reducing the consumption of virgin material and energy inputs, and likewise the generation of waste and emissions. In this study, the environmental impacts of an industrial ecosystem centered around a pulp and paper mill and operating as an IS are analyzed using life cycle assessment (LCA). The system is compared with two hypothetical reference systems in which the actors would operate in isolation. Moreover, the system is analyzed further in order to identify possibilities for additional links between the actors. The results show that of the total life cycle impacts of the system, upstream processes made the greatest overall contribution to the results. Comparison with stand‐alone production shows that in the case studied, the industrial symbiosis results in modest improvements, 5% to 20% in most impact categories, in the overall environmental impacts of the system. Most of the benefits occur upstream through heat and electricity production for the local town. All in all it is recommended that when the environmental impacts of industrial symbiosis are assessed, the impacts occurring upstream should also be studied, not only the impacts within the ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-155
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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symbiosis
environmental impact
life cycle
energy
ecosystem
life cycle assessment
electricity
mill
heat
social isolation
town
material

Keywords

  • Environmental impact
  • Finland
  • industrial ecology
  • industrial ecosystem
  • life cycle assessment
  • pulp and paper industry

Cite this

Sokka, Laura ; Lehtoranta, S. ; Nissinen, A. ; Melanen, M. / Analyzing the environmental benefits of industrial symbiosis. In: Journal of Industrial Ecology. 2011 ; Vol. 15, No. 1. pp. 137-155.
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Analyzing the environmental benefits of industrial symbiosis. / Sokka, Laura (Corresponding Author); Lehtoranta, S.; Nissinen, A.; Melanen, M.

In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2011, p. 137-155.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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T1 - Analyzing the environmental benefits of industrial symbiosis

AU - Sokka, Laura

AU - Lehtoranta, S.

AU - Nissinen, A.

AU - Melanen, M.

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