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Industrial Ecosystems Opportunities

Updated:2017-8-16 14:47:43    Source:www.tannet-group.comViews:417

Industrial ecologists have proposed that businesses learn to function as industrial ecosystems. This concept is very useful to communities seeking to make their industrial sectors sustainable. Indigo associate, Nick Gertler, has offered this definition:

"An industrial ecosystem is a community or network of companies and other organizations in a region who chose to interact by exchanging and making use of byproducts and/or energy in a way that provides one or more of the following benefits over traditional, non-linked operations:
Reduction in the use of virgin materials as resource inputs;
Reduction in pollution;
Increased energy efficiency leading to reduced energy use in the system as a whole;
Reduction in the volume of waste products requiring disposal (with the added benefit of preventing disposal-related pollution); and
Increase in the amount and types of process outputs that have market value."

The town and industrial region of Kalundborg in Denmark is the most celebrated example of an industrial ecosystem. Researchers are discovering other examples, as in the Austrian province of Styria.

Business Development Opportunities

Entering new markets for existing goods and services:

By-product trading among companies opens a number of new business niches for reprocessing and information technologies and for service providers. Producers of a wide range of materials processing equipment (for grinding, sifting, sorting, purifying, and packaging), for instance, will find new markets. Intermediary companies altering wastes mechanically or chemically to meet customer specifications will need this equipment as the concept of waste is eliminated. Another business finding new markets will be manufacturers of equipment to channel flows of materials, water, or heat among plants.

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