Industrial symbiosis by Kemira Kemi

Recovered energy to benefit business and the community

An innovative industrial park in Helsingborg, Sweden operates through industrial symbiosis. This means that all businesses based there cooperate in order to achieve resource efficiencies, reduce running costs and limit their environmental impact. The site currently hosts around 20 companies involved in a range of industries. 

All companies within the park collaborate around energy, material, utilities, logistics, infrastructure and services. A key element of this industrial symbiosis is the sharing of recovered energy from industrial processes. Around 600 GWh of energy is recovered every year to replace the consumption of primary fuels, not only for companies within the Industry Park of Sweden (IPOS) but also in nearby Helsingborg City. In fact, recovered energy from the park is the base load of the district heating network in Helsingborg, accounting for one third of the city’s annual heating needs.

This recovered energy is produced by exothermal reactions and by heat recovery from product flows. It is climate neutral and does not produce any CO2-emissions. If the corresponding volume of energy were to be produced by, for example, natural gas, annual emissions would be 120 000 tons of CO2 per year.

Industrial park partners also collaborate around material flows. This is because the product or by-product from one plant can often become the raw material of another. This saves costs and emissions from transportation, increases resource efficiency and reduces waste streams. The large-scale industrial symbiosis system also means that the park can share fixed costs for infrastructure and central production plants, reducing costs for all involved. This set-up also reduces environmental impact, as large-scale central utility production plants are far more energy efficient than several decentralised smaller production plants. The park’s energy-efficient central compressor plant, for example, replaced 30 decentralised smaller compressor units in 2010, saving 2.4 GWh of electricity a year.