esymbiosis-logoDevelopment of knowledge-based web services to promote and advance Industrial Symbiosis in Europe.
1/10/2010 - 30/9/2013

Industrial Symbiosis (IS) wais an innovative approach and environmental practice that brings together companies from all business sectors with the aim of improving cross-industry resource efficiency through the commercial trading of materials, energy and water and sharing assets, logistics and expertise. It was initiated in SPIRE project in which 90 industries across Europe participated with success. It was a LIFE+ Environmental Policy and Governance Project co-funded by the European Commission. The duration of the project was 36 months starting on the 1st of October 2010. The project was implemented in Greece and United Kingdom. Participants were: National Technical University of Athens, the Region of Sterea Ellada giving us the ability to unite around 260 industrial sites, University of Surrey, AVCO Systems ltd, CLMS Hellas and Paul Innes Consulting Ltd, Envireco.

The project developed a knowledge-based service that promoted, demonstrated and advanced Industrial Symbiosis (IS). The UK National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP), officially launched in July 2005, is essentially the only national programme of its kind worldwide. With generous support from national funds and the use of industrial consultants, the program can help a large number of companies, reporting impressive results to divert industrial waste, save raw material, save processing cost, reduce industrial water discharge, and create new businesses and jobs (http://www.nisp.org.uk). The IS offers measurable outputs with respect to environmental, economic and social benefits open and available for the public to review. IS is thus ideally in line with the implementation of the Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP), offering an “‘eco-friendly technology good for business, reducing pressure on the environment and creating new jobs”. However, according to the NISP records, SME’s are essentially absent from their transactions, finding expensive to allocate personnel that would communicate offline material and energy flows. By a similar token, the implementation of IS in countries unable to afford a similarly generous budget to that in UK is seriously limited. Indeed, even within the UK programme, the significant volumes of data collected and the diversification of data across regions and types of waste makes it difficult for the manual management to systematize the analysis and scope for opportunities. Using NISP knowledge as a pilot, the project has deployed a systems’ approach to produce a configurable web service to automate and systematize the application of Industrial Symbiosis. Automation will enable IS trading partners to access the service online (without a need for consultants). Using state-of-the-art technology (ontology engineering and models), one would be able to configure the service, prescribe profiles (types of waste, mass and energy flows) and customize it according to the needs and the industrial context of the region. In that way, not only the UK practice would be accessible to smaller companies (or countries with a lesser dedication to IS) but a new and novel IS paradigm would be created in Europe (IS service for waste trade). The project is a catalyst for exciting developments customizing the service for different industrial sectors, geographical communities and regions, or using the service to link industrial and urban waste streams. The project is also a catalyst for research offering a basis for waste stream analysis and a dynamic reference case to build advanced technology for the intelligent management and valorization of waste streams.



  • Consolidate practices and valuable knowledge-base established by the numerous NISP projects in a form that could run autonomously;
  • Build features to support innovative policy approaches to facilitate the IS implementation as an environmental policy at a local, regional and national level;
  • Build a knowledge-based approach with a potential to report measurable social, environmental and economic benefits;
  • Prepare and train industries to embark on IS and to use the service. Train industries to make full use of the service potential. Use the service to demonstrate capabilities widely, supporting the uptake of IS as an innovative approach;
  • Deploy the widest possible application of scientifically verified technologies (decision support technology, ontology engineering, knowledge extraction) to upgrade IS towards a systematic and powerful methodology, attractive not only to the practicing communities but also to research and development groups with capabilities to advance its innovative features;
  • Provide means to disseminate IS widely first in the prefecture of Viotia and eventually across Europe offering the web service for demonstration, training and promoting of the IS concept;
  • Improve and increase the participation of SME’s, through the automated service, into the numerous market-oriented activities built on IS (first in relation to the targeted region of Viotia but also in other regions in Greece and Europe);
  • Reduce the natural resource consumption (raw materials, energy, utilities) reducing waste streams to landfill, a major problem in the region, in Greece and across Europe;
  • Establish Industrial Symbiosis networks and recruit champions to disseminate IS in Greece, the Balkans and all regions deprived of dedicated government support for Industrial Symbiosis.

We reviewed the existing models for assessment of environmental effects and concomitant metrics which were used for partners’ selection optimization. We also took into consideration the global picture on existing practices in industrial symbiosis, in particular environmental, economic and technological consequences and opportunities. We have set the requirements to ensure flexible and operable industrial symbiosis service, to be used in the process of design and validation of the service. We achieved a verified waste stream and created solution provider knowledge models. We implemented inference engine and service matchmaker. We designed and tuned the implementation of the system tools. We created the web service and the web portal. Service operation was validated and re-evaluated. Training sessions of the stakeholders took place and were accompanied by a constant dissemination effort on the project methodology and its content. We achieved a significant raise of the industrial symbiosis awareness that did not even exist in the area, by adopting of a new collaborative approach and familiarization of the actors involved in the field in relevant technologies. Each activity deadline was met. Quality and timely Reports (inception report, mid-term, 1st progress report and final report) were delivered with success. Evaluation and monitoring was constant while 5 end-of action reports were produced. A substantial number of scientific publications was finally produced.


Results and environmental benefits:

  • CO2 emissions’ reduction
  • Reduction of industrial waste that are deposited to landfills
  • Raw material uptake
  • Reduction of raw material’s costs, because of recycling
  • Income from new industrial sales
  • Development
  • New technologies’ development for waste MGT
  • Private investment opportunities
  • Working positions’ opportunities

e-symbiosis platform is a “ready to use” application, validated, evaluated and widely tested for more than 2 years. It can benefit more industries, more regions from now on and can lead us to high level industrial waste management practices.