LOCIMAP: Guiding Principles

Industrial symbiosis was recognised as the key principle to achieving this industrial revolution by the LOCIMAP project. It represents the cornerstone of not only a lowcarbon industrial manufacturing park but a low-carbon economy. This business principle, if not the name, has been in operation as long as industry has existed; it is greatly underexploited.

A number of sectors have prepared roadmaps to a low-carbon industry, e.g. Cement Technology Roadmap 2009 (OECD et al. 2009), Steel's Contribution to a Low-Carbon Europe 2050 (Wörtler et al. 2013), Paving the Way to 2050: The Ceramic Industry Roadmap (Cerame-Unie 2012), Unfold the Future: The Forest Fibre Industry 2050 (CEPI 2011) and Roadmap to a low-carbon bio-economy: An Aluminium Roadmap to a low carbon Europe: Lightening the Load (EAA 2012). These are highly professional documents, but (with the possible exception of the cement industry and to some extent the paper industry) they are in many cases limited in their vision, principally restricting the analysis to their own sector. To be truly effective, industrial symbiosis needs to be cross-sectoral. More than that, it should go beyond the optimisation of resources in a given location to the selection of the location at the point of business investment. Ultimately, the driver for the uptake is simply that of best practice business delivering both competitivity and environmental benefits.

The requirement is to deploy the principles of industrial symbiosis in a bold and strategic way. For example, why shouldn't the blast furnace off-gas from the iron and steel industry be used as syngas within the chemical industry? To illustrate the point, many factories within the chemical or petrochemical industry have as the unavoidable result of established processes – and despite the efforts of generations of engineers – significant quantities of low-grade heat. Similarly, many food factories have a demand for cooling. The potential for the chemical industry supplying refrigeration capacity through absorption chilling opens up a solution that is not available within single sectors. This is a far-ranging comment since it implies a breadth of imagination at not only the business and engineering level but also that of strategic planning. Though it may not be always practicable for two sectors to be cheek by jowl geographically, this does not prevent them from having a thermodynamic umbilical link. Again, these examples draw in the requirement to be strategic and to include local government, planners and politicians alongside business and engineering.

For industrial symbiosis to deliver its full commercial potential in terms of engineering efficiency, it needs to move beyond the first-generation approach of material transfer. This is certainly not to dismiss the benefit of 'long-radius' synergies involving material transfers from further afield; the positive carbon credit for use of material by-products against the extraction and processing of virgin materials is eminently quantifiable. However, real progress is only achievable by including the integration of heat and power in 'short-radius' synergies with associated heat and power supply networks in dedicated industrial eco-parks. It will clearly be an economic impossibility to optimise utility systems that rely on close proximity between partner organisations unless they really are co-located. The park concept is key to this. Furthermore, within a CO2 minimisation agenda, supply chain integration is likely to be subservient to the industrial symbiosis objective. This is not the case now, where logistics represent the primary threads holding the supply chain together. This shift will require reconfiguration or even a redefinition of the supply chain, but this will need an effective powerful driver either of long-term policy or of carbon price.

Residual 'low-grade' heat presents a major opportunity for further improving the already good CO2 performance of our industrial parks. However, we suggest that a change in mindset is needed so that its use is considered from the outset, as part of the overall process design. Whilst district heating systems for residential areas are good, they suffer from high seasonality of demand; what is required is a constant demand of industrial proportions. The example already cited, regarding the development of district cooling systems powered by residual heat through absorption chilling systems, requires bold planning moves such as co-location in the food industry, with its typically high demand for refrigeration, cold stores, data centres, etc., alongside the sources of residual heat, particularly the chemical, petrochemical and power industries.

As a consequence of this study, Link2Energy Ltd has proposed such a system for the South Humber Bank; waste heat from the petrochemical plants is being considered to provide cooling for a cluster of food companies 10 km away with the two sites potentially linked through a utility corridor within the coastal industrial strip.

However, not all residual heat is low grade. By way of example, the energy flows through an integrated steel complex dwarf those of most other industries, and the ability to recover waste heat from the cooling of products and from the slags, though inevitably difficult and a technological challenge (that is being grasped), is a significant source of potential high-grade heat and hence of reduced emissions.

The recovery of heat is clearly only of value if there is a home for it. Industrial clustering on parks is paramount to capitalise on this potential. The challenge is clear: how can we better integrate our industries and deliver collective CO2 emission reductions rather than leave industries isolated and subject to carbon leakage pressures?

Furthermore, each future park may benefit from having its own technology centre for evaluating the optimum utility configurations of the resident industries in a dynamic setting, for assessing new opportunities for the valorisation of by-products and for the deployment of new technology. There are certainly examples of this across Europe (e.g. CPI at Wilton, Chemelot Campus, etc.)

Most of the specific sector roadmaps cite technology advances within their plan for 2020 and 2050 targets. In most instances, the ways suggested to bring about a reduction in CO2 footprint are sector specific. An example is the ULCOS project.[1] ULCOS stands for ultra-low carbon dioxide (CO2) steelmaking. It is a consortium of 48 European companies and organisations from 15 European countries that have launched a cooperative research and development initiative to enable drastic reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from steel production. The consortium consists of all major EU steel companies, of energy and engineering partners, research institutes and universities and is supported by the European commission. The aim of the ULCOS programme is to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of today's best routes by at least 50 %. Other initiatives include the deployment of high-efficiency kilns as examples of material changes such as the development of artificial pozzolans within the cement industry (OECD et al. 2009). However, if the challenge is to deliver a low-carbon economy, then the ultimate requirement is to base the design of that (industrial) economy on thermodynamic principles (Bakshi et al. 2011).

LOCIMAP brought together an array of existing and emerging technologies that individually offer an ability to recover and to transfer heat from one process to another and which are key to achieving the ambition for integration. Further, the management of such integrated systems will demand an overarching control philosophy and deployment of ICT (see LOCIMAP White Paper 3).

Link2Energy Ltd is active in developing opportunity within both the Humber and Tees river basins for the deployment of flameless oxy-combustion FPO systems. Suitable for a wide variety of wet waste materials including renewables, the technology is capable of very high operating efficiency and low emissions due to the absence of nitrogen. It has also pioneered the development of hydrothermal carbonisation for the treatment of organic materials including poultry litter and is applicable in several industries within the Humber hinterland.

Process techniques such as pinch technology make it possible to define minimum utility consumption for individual processes and also the optimum energy target for integration of quite disparate processes. This powerful technique has been used extensively within the process industries in particular. LOCIMAP extended the technique to the application across a virtual industrial park. The end result is a powerful blueprint for integrating processes from the chemical, petrochemical, pulp and paper, fine chemical and biofuel sectors together with some from the iron and steel and non-ferrous metal industries.

The LOCIMAP project has sought to minimise the release of carbon through intelligent synergies between industries. Processes are under development elsewhere to use CO2 as a feedstock. Some products may be manufactured from fluegas CO2, e.g. cyclic carbonates, but the market for these products is small in comparison with present emissions. Carbon capture and storage is the ultimate backstop, and many of the individual sector roadmaps forecast the importance of this technology within their 2050 view on CO2 reductions. It may become increasingly important, and indeed an asset, for future industrial parks to be geographically located on a carbon capture and transportation highway umbilically linked to a carbon storage facility. Carbon management and CO2sequestration will be at the heart of a future low-carbon industrial park and become part of the utility system.

In the Yorkshire and Humber region, National Grid is helping to develop solutions to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power stations and industrial plants. A solution being explored is carbon capture, transportation and storage (CCS) technology – capturing carbon dioxide emissions and transporting them to be stored permanently beneath the seabed in natural porous rock formations or depleted oil and gas fields. If approved, the Yorkshire and Humber CCS Cross-Country Pipeline project[2] will involve the construction of a cross-country pipeline and a subsea pipeline to transport carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power stations and industrial plants in the region to a permanent geological storage site beneath the North Sea. The onshore pipeline would be 75 km long and would use the same sort of technology as the national high-pressure gas pipeline network, owned and operated by National Grid. It would be up to 24″ (about 600 mm) in diameter and buried at least 1.2 m below ground. The carbon dioxide would be transported in liquid form at a pressure of 150 barg. The subsea pipeline would be the same size and on the seabed. Offshore, the carbon dioxide would be transported at a pressure of up to 200 barg to a geological storage site beneath the North Sea. The pipeline would have the capacity to transport up to 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. The longterm aspiration is for the pipeline to form the foundation of a regional CCS network, potentially capturing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

As noted above, the major themes within LOCIMAP, the optimisation of steam and power systems, cannot be realised within supply chain integration unless the manufacturing units are co-located. It will clearly be an economic impossibility to integrate utility systems that rely on close proximity between partner organisations unless that is the case. Within the CO2 agenda, supply chain integration is subservient to the industrial symbiosis question. This may even lead to a reconfiguration or even a redefinition of the supply chain.

The waste industry will play an increasing role within the industrial landscape of such symbiotic parks through the provision of feedstock. Whilst industrial symbiosis and the exchange of industrial by-products as feedstocks are vital in future industrial parks, the importance of post-consumer waste as a feedstock will also grow. For some elements, e.g. copper, it is recorded that there is more material in the technosphere rather than the geosphere, and there is much concern over the availability of a range of other 'critical raw materials'. In some cases the concentration of these materials is greater in post-consumer and industrial wastes than in the virgin ore; some process are natural concentrators of the ore, e.g. the levels of germanium and gallium in coal ashes are inevitably almost 100 times that in the coal. Despite many critical raw materials being nonindigenous to Europe, recycling and recovery rates of such elements and compounds are still amazingly low.

These changes in feedstock supply will have a bearing on energy demands and CO2 emissions. The aluminium industry is a good and current case of an industry that has already shifted focus towards a recycled feedstock and shows the improved economics and environmental performance through recycling of aluminium (e.g. cans) compared with the life cycle implications of producing virgin metal (see Chap. 6).

Resource innovation, the recovery of component parts of 'waste streams', whether that is critical raw materials from mineral based industries, proteins and flavonoids from industrial food wastes or phosphates from water discharges, represents an improvement in utilisation of finite resources which will need to shape future policy and approach. Avoiding the closure of material loops is not a future option; this is not a matter of principle, but ultimately one of economics and the emerging industries will be integral to a changing mix on the future industrial park.

Again, to lean on the thermodynamic argument for materials as well as for our utility studies, the more dissipated our resources, the higher the entropy and the more the energy required to recover them. It is surely better to sprout a new industry on a collocated industrial park to recover critical material from fly ash before we provide it as an ingredient to make cement.

Link2Energy has a legacy of successful material exchanges that minimise material being sent to landfill. However more recent examples of resource innovation in the Humber area relate to the development of a marine biorefinery for the extraction of phospholipids from fish and particular salmon skins. The project, which was funded by the Innovate for Growth competition run by the Technology Strategy Board, engaged a Grimsby-based food factory, academia and a local company specialising in extraction technology. It has replicated this collaborative approach with academia and industry for a number of other high-value resource innovation projects. These include the extraction of proteins and peptides from reject potatoes, flavonoids from waste citrus fruit and rare earth metals from by-product residues from the mineral industry. The company is also engaged with valorisation of alkaline leachates from the steel industry as part of a 3-year study funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

To realise the benefits identified in LOCIMAP, it will be necessary to challenge existing approaches to business. These challenges are twofold. The intra-park challenge goes beyond utility platform sharing and into process integration. The extrapark collaboration goes beyond intercompany exchange into public-private sector partnerships.

The key advantage of the low-carbon park is that it provides the location where minimum energy and lowest cost can exist together. The model for that business may take many forms and will be determined by culture and public sector policy and support. Enlightened self-interest may prove sufficiently strong to engineer some of these changes. LOCIMAP has excellent exemplars from within its own partners as to what can be achieved already through industrial and industrial-municipal collaborations; examples are provided by the parks at Tarragona, Kokkola, Wilton and Kalundborg.

But, as outlined in LOCIMAP White Paper 4, the low-carbon future requires developments of new approaches and public engagement that can be effective in delivering business solutions at the park level. The project view is that the establishment of 'Synergy Management Services' organisations is probably the best way to go. These need to be led by the park operator or by the industrial cluster with support from the local public sector with an interest in sustainability themselves.

One such example is the Saltend Chemicals Park, a cluster of world-class chemicals and renewable energy business at the heart of Humberside, established by BP Chemicals Ltd in 2009. Today a number of leading organisations operate on the 370-acre site, sharing an established infrastructure and extensive provision of services, feedstocks and utilities, enabling them to drive down costs, increase efficiency and boost profitability. The site has seen £500 million of investment in recent years and its products range from clothing to paints, pharmaceuticals and packaging.

  • [1] ulcos.org
  • [2] ccshumber.co.uk
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