Exploring the emergence of waste recovery and exchange in industrial clusters

Shiva Noori*, Gijsbert Korevaar, Rob Stikkelman, Andrea Ramírez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Self-organized industrial symbiosis (IS) starts with one actor's decision to invest in a waste recovery plant and the other actors' decision to buy the recovered flow. Technical and institutional conditions of the cluster influence actors' decisions. This paper explores the emergence of IS collaborations in industrial clusters under different techno-economic conditions in the long term. We propose a mixed-integer linear programming model that incorporates costs and constraints associated with waste recovery and exchange to study actors' investment decisions and investigate shaped symbiotic exchanges under rising energy prices and limited electricity supply. The approach is implemented in Iran's Persian Gulf Mining and Metals Special Economic Zone as a case study. The results revealed that changes in internal or external condition simultaneously influence the industrial and waste recovery plants. For instance, increasing energy prices without raising product prices significantly decreased the production level of industrial plants and, consequently, heat recovery potential. Furthermore, the waste heat recovery plants' contribution to improving the cluster's economic and environmental performance was not the same. Electricity recovery from a power plant's waste heat can result in 55 PJ grid electricity intake reduction and 720 M€ cluster cash flow increase. Recovered cooling or electricity from the steelmaking plant waste heat was consumed internally rather than shaping IS. These model outcomes show its capability to study IS within the socio-technical structure of the cluster, not a standalone phenomenon. Implemented conceptualization offers a novel system-level approach, which could be adjusted to assess other industrial development strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-950
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • carbon emissions
  • complex industrial systems
  • industrial ecology
  • industrial symbiosis
  • MILP model
  • techno-economic analysis

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