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Circular Integration of processes, industries, and economies

Author

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  • Walmsley, Timothy Gordon
  • Ong, Benjamin H.Y.
  • Klemeš, Jiří Jaromír
  • Tan, Raymond R.
  • Varbanov, Petar Sabev

Abstract

Circular Economy has emerged as a popular research topic that is shaping public policy in Europe, China, America and elsewhere. It complements the conceptual basis of the Industrial Ecology framework, but places more emphasis on business models to create closed-loop material systems. However, the Circular Economy concept currently lacks robust engineering design methods, leading to many researchers question its effectiveness. In contrast, Process Integration is lesser known publicly, despite being widely applied in industry to achieve substantial reductions in industrial energy, water, and utility use. These three areas have developed in parallel with minimal cross-pollination, but are in fact potentially complementary. This contribution proposes the new unified concept of Circular Integration for greater transdisciplinary research cohesiveness in the sustainable development of processes, industries, and economies. Circular Integration combines elements from Process Integration, Industrial Ecology, and Circular Economy into a multi-dimensional, multi-scale approach to the minimisation of resource and energy consumption. Circular Integration thus provides an engineering toolbox for planning a Sustainable and Circular Economy. To demonstrate its potential, the paper presents a case study on sustainable biofuel production. The possible solution leverages existing industrial resources to potentially produce enough fuel to fulfil 37% of current demand for global air and marine transport. The Circular Integration framework can also be generalised to systems other than transport and energy, aiming to catalyse greater transdisciplinary research for the analysis, design, and implementation of sustainable and circular systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Walmsley, Timothy Gordon & Ong, Benjamin H.Y. & Klemeš, Jiří Jaromír & Tan, Raymond R. & Varbanov, Petar Sabev, 2019. "Circular Integration of processes, industries, and economies," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 507-515.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:107:y:2019:i:c:p:507-515
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2019.03.039
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Yong, Wen Ni & Liew, Peng Yen & Woon, Kok Sin & Wan Alwi, Sharifah Rafidah & Klemeš, Jiří Jaromír, 2021. "A pinch-based multi-energy targeting framework for combined chilling heating power microgrid of urban-industrial symbiosis," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
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    5. Moins, B. & France, C. & Van den bergh, W. & Audenaert, A., 2020. "Implementing life cycle cost analysis in road engineering: A critical review on methodological framework choices," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    6. Escobar, Neus & Laibach, Natalie, 2021. "Sustainability check for bio-based technologies: A review of process-based and life cycle approaches," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
    7. Mikulčić, Hrvoje & Ridjan Skov, Iva & Dominković, Dominik Franjo & Wan Alwi, Sharifah Rafidah & Manan, Zainuddin Abdul & Tan, Raymond & Duić, Neven & Hidayah Mohamad, Siti Nur & Wang, Xuebin, 2019. "Flexible Carbon Capture and Utilization technologies in future energy systems and the utilization pathways of captured CO2," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 1-1.

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