Planning and Uncovering Industrial Symbiosis: Comparing the Rotterdam and Östergötland regions


Leo Baas, Dept of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden. E-mail:


Industrial ecology is defined as the study of material and energy flows through industrial systems and as such may focus on a geographic area, resource and/or industry sector. In these types of setting, industrial ecology is also often known as industrial symbiosis (IS). The proximity of companies in industrial estates facilitates the linking of utilities and the exchange of wastes and by-products, which may eventually be useful inputs for adjacent industrial processes. The typical model that has been applied in several regions of the world is one where an anchor-tenant organization with energy and by-product linkages is connected to companies physically located nearby. In the case of biomass symbiosis, however, the resource chains are not explicitly arranged by their industrial setting and the supply of waste and by-products is able to be organized in a more scattered way.

In this article, the role of industrial symbiosis is analyzed in respect of the planned industrial symbiosis activities in the Rotterdam Harbour and Industry Complex in the Netherlands and in the application of renewable energy in the Östergötland region in Sweden.

The objective of this article is to discuss the similarities and differences between the planned industrial symbiosis activities in Rotterdam and the unplanned biomass and industrial symbiosis activities in the Östergötland region. By presenting this knowledge in this article, it is anticipated that further development of industrial symbiosis application processes may be achieved. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.