Industrial symbiosis involves collaborations among diverse, and predominantly local and regional, actors that create additional economic and environmental value through by-product exchanges, utility and service sharing, and joint innovations. The benefits to the solutions are often beyond what can be achieved by acting alone. As the resulting resource productivity improvements create both environmental and business value, the concept has recognized potential to contribute to the development of more sustainable businesses and economies, e.g. development of biofuels.

A new report written for f3 by Murat Mirata and Mats Eklund, Linköping University, and Andreas Gundberg, Lantmännen Agroetanol AB, focuses on advancing understanding of the actual contribution provided in two real life examples – one focusing on grain-based ethanol production and the other focusing on biogas production in a co-digestion unit. The studied cases provide clear insights on multiple business and environmental benefits of industrial symbiosis. Reducing input and operational costs, increasing material and energy productivity, creatively improving access to substrate with improved social acceptance, reducing exposure to market volatilities, and providing improved environmental performance–with market differentiation advantages–are among key impacts observed.

The project ans report is titled Industrial symbiosis and biofuels industry: Business value and organisational factors within cases of ethanol and biogas production.