Kalundborg Symbiosis

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Short description

enterprises buy and sell waste products from industrial production in a closed cycle


In Kalundborg Symbiosis, public and private enterprises buy and sell waste products from industrial production in a closed cycle. The residual products traded can include steam, dust, gases, heat, slurry or any other waste product that can be physically transported from one enterprise to another.




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Qualitative Analysis

Description of the Process

The Kalundborg Symbiosis is an industrial ecosystem, where the residual product of one enterprise is used as a resource by another enterprise, in a closed cycle. An industrial symbiosis is a local collaboration where public and private enterprises buy and sell residual products, resulting in mutual economic and environmental benefits.


The Kalundborg Symbiosis came into being as a result of private conversations between a few enterprise managers from the Kalundborg region in the ’60s and ’70s. Since then, the industrial symbiosis has developed based on good collaboration between employees of the businesses involved.
The continuous development of the Kalundborg Symbiosis has been possible because its benefits have grown yearly, both economically, culturally and environmentally.
The Kalundborg Symbiosis began in 1961, when Statoil (then Esso) needed water for their refinery near Kalundborg. The first conduits pipes in Kalundborg Symbiosis were laid between Statoil and the nearby lake, Tissø.
In 1972, Statoil entered into an agreement with Gyproc, a local gypsum production enterprise, for the supply of excess gas from Statoil's production to Gyproc. Gyproc used the gas (today, natural gas) for the drying of the produced plasterboard in their ovens.
The following year, 1973, Dong Energy (then, the Asnæs Plant) was connected to the Statoil water pipe, and what would later come to be known as the Kalundborg Symbiosis now had three partners.
Over the years more and more businesses were linked into the Kalundborg Symbiosis, and in 1989 the term ‘industrial symbiosis’ was used to the describe the collaboration for the first time.

Factors that contributed to the success of the project

In the development of the Kalundborg Symbiosis, the most important element has been healthy communication and good cooperation between the participants. The symbiosis has been founded on human relationships, and fruitful collaboration between the employees that have made the development of the symbiosis-system possible.

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