Special Issue "Industrial Energy Symbiosis"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Rita Gamberini
Guest Editor
Department of Science and Methods for Engineering, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
Interests: industrial symbiosis; sustainable industrial processes; circular economy; sustainable supply-chain; reverse logistics; participatory design
Dr. Maria Angela Butturi
Guest Editor
Department of Science and Methods for Engineering, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
Interests: industrial energy symbiosis; urban-industrial symbiosis; renewable energy; sustainability; circular economy; multi-stakeholder perspective

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Within the framework of the industrial symbiosis, the industrial energy symbiosis considers the sharing of energy-related resources, facilities, and infrastructures as an effective model to promote energy conservation measures. It also reduces dependence on fossil fuels and enables renewable energy sources uptake at the industrial level. It encompasses a multi-dimensional mix of sustainable and innovative technical solutions as well as organizational strategies to implement inter-firm energy exchanges, joint projects for energy efficiency, and for collective power generation, aiming at reducing the energy-related carbon footprint of industry and supporting circular economy approaches.

In addition, an improved low-carbon strategy can be achieved by creating energy synergies between industrial districts and the adjacent urban areas. Establishing an urban-industrial energy symbiosis allows the optimization of energy production and consumption and the utilization of local knowhow and human resources.

With the exception of a few literature reviews, existing literature mainly focuses on material flows, while the energy theme is frequently ancillary. Some case studies considering energy synergies have been explored, but a focused and comprehensive view on the industrial energy symbiosis is still missing.

So this Special Issue aims to provide a cross-disciplinary debate focusing on technical, economic, organizational, regulatory, environmental, and social drivers and barriers of the energy symbiosis approach, including but not limited to the following topics:

  • Modelling industrial and urban-industrial energy symbiosis, including renewable energy sources
  • Distributed generation applied to industrial and urban-industrial energy symbiosis: modelling and evaluation of different technological and organizational strategies
  • Methods for the sustainability assessment of industrial energy symbiosis schemes
  • Methods for industrial energy symbiosis indicators calculation and validation
  • Models for distributing and allocating energy exchanges in an industrial symbiosis network
  • Policy and regulatory schemes enabling industrial and urban-industrial energy symbiosis
  • Modelling platforms enabling the collection and exchange of information regarding energy flow
  • Energy security, risk management and resilience in the industrial energy symbiosis approach


  • Maes T, Van Eetvelde G, De Ras E, Block C, Pisman A, Verhofstede B, et al. Energy management on industrial parks in Flanders. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2011;15:1988–2005. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2010.11.053.
  • Kastner CA, Lau R, Kraft M. Quantitative tools for cultivating symbiosis in industrial parks; a literature review. Appl Energy 2015;155:599–612. doi:10.1016/J.APENERGY.2015.05.037
  • Karner K, Theissing M, Kienberger T. Energy efficiency for industries through synergies with urban areas. J Clean Prod 2016;119:167–77. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.02.010.
  • Afshari H, Jaber MY, Searcy C. Extending industrial symbiosis to residential buildings: A mathematical model and case study. J Clean Prod 2018;183:370–9. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.02.148.
  • Le Tellier M, Berrah L, Stutz B, Audy JF, Barnabé S. Towards sustainable business parks: A literature review and a systemic model. J Clean Prod 2019;216:129–38. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.01.145.

Prof. Dr. Rita Gamberini
Dr. Maria Angela Butturi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • industrial symbiosis
  • eco-industrial parks
  • urban-industrial symbiosis
  • distributed generation
  • energy efficiency
  • renewable energy
  • carbon emissions reduction
  • sustainability
  • circular economy
  • energy security
  • resilience

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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