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Open AccessArticle

An Assessment of European Information Technology Tools to Support Industrial Symbiosis

Energy & Cluster Management, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Ghent University, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
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Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010131
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 December 2018 / Published: 27 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy, Ethical Funds, and Engineering Projects)
Industrial symbiosis (IS) has proven to bring collective benefits to multiple stakeholders by minimising underutilised resources, sharing knowledge and improving business and technical processes. In Europe alone, over €130 million have been invested since 2006 in research projects that enable IS by developing a methodology, tool, software, platform or network that facilitates the uptake of IS by different economic actors. This paper discusses and assesses information technology (IT) developments for supporting IS in Europe, following the five-stage methodology of Grant et al. (2010). It provides guidance to the applicants and reviewers of publicly funded research projects by listing the developments and gaps in the newly developed IT tools for IS. Content analysis of publicly available information on 20 IS supporting IT tools reveals a strong focus on synergy identification but a lack of support for the implementation stage of IS. The paper indicates that a vast quantity of IT tools and knowledge is created during the IT tool development stage and newer IT tools now also include implicit information for identifying IS. It was found that successfully operational IT tools are either part of a national or local IS programme or owned by a private company. The paper ends with the recommendation that better mechanisms are needed to ensure that publicly funded IS-supporting IT tools successfully reach the market. View Full-Text
Keywords: Industrial symbiosis; IT tools; research and innovation projects Industrial symbiosis; IT tools; research and innovation projects
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Maqbool, A.S.; Mendez Alva, F.; Van Eetvelde, G. An Assessment of European Information Technology Tools to Support Industrial Symbiosis. Sustainability 2019, 11, 131.

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