A modelling framework for the conceptual design of low-emission eco-industrial parks in the circular economy: A case for algae-centered business consortia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Water (Switzerland), 2021, 13, (1)
Issue Date:
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This article describes a unique industrial symbiosis employing an algae cultivation unit (ACU) at the core of a novel eco-industrial park (EIP) integrating fossil-fuel fired power generation, carbon capture, biofuel production, aquaculture, and wastewater treatment. A new modelling framework capable of designing and evaluating materials and energy exchanges within an industrial eco-system is introduced. In this scalable model, an algorithm was developed to balance the material and energy exchanges and determine the optimal inputs and outputs based on the industrial symbiosis objectives and participating industries. Optimizing the functionality of the ACU not only achieved a substantial emission reduction, but also boosted aquaculture, biofuel, and other chemical productions. In a power-boosting scenario (PBS), by matching a 660 MW fossil fuel-fired power plant with an equivalent solar field in the presence of ACU, fish-producing aquaculture and biofuel industries, the net CO2 emissions were cut by 60% with the added benefit of producing 39 m3 biodiesel, 6.7 m3 bioethanol, 0.14 m3 methanol, and 19.55 tons of fish products annually. Significantly, this article shows the potential of this new flexible modelling framework for integrated materials and energy flow analysis. This integration is an important pathway for evaluating energy technology transitions towards future low-emission production systems, as required for a circular economy.
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