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Web Tool for the Identification of Industrial Symbioses in Industrial Parks

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Advances and New Trends in Environmental Informatics

Part of the book series: Progress in IS ((PROIS))


Industrial Symbiosis (IS) is a systemic and collaborative business approach to optimize cycles of material and energy by connecting the supply and demand of various industries. IS provides approaches for advanced circular/cascading systems, in which the energy and material flows are prolonged for multiple utilization within industrial systems in order to increase resource productivity and efficiency. This study aims to present the conceptual IT-supported IS tool and its corresponding prototype, developed for the identification of IS opportunities in IPs. This IS tool serves as an IS facilitating platform, providing transparency among market players and proposing potential cooperation partners according to selectable criteria (e.g. geographical radius, material properties, material quality, purchase quantity, delivery period). So this IS tool builds the technology-enabled environment for the processes of first screening of IS possibilities and initiation for further complex business-driven negotiations and agreements for long-term IS business relationships. The central core of the web application is the analysis and modelling of material and energy flows, which refer to the entire industrial park as well as to individual companies. Methods of Material Flow Analysis (MFA) and Material Flow Cost Accounting (MFCA) are used to identify possible input–output- and supply–demand matchings. The second central core of the web application is the identification of existing and potential cooperation partners for the development of IS networks. In order to achieve this, a combinatorial approach of Social Network Analysis (SNA) and a deposited geographical map are inserted, so that same suppliers and recycling/disposal companies can be detected.

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  1. 1.

    Emergy is an expression of all the energy consumed in direct and indirect transformations in the processes to generate a product or service, therefore emergy analysis converts the thermodynamic basis of all forms of energy, resources and human services into equivalents of a single form of energy (usually solar emjoules).

  2. 2.

    MFA quantifies the input and output flows and stocks of materials and energy for each process of the system under consideration in physical units (e.g. kg).

  3. 3.

    MFCA quantifies the input and output flows and stocks of materials and energy in physical and monetary units, especially the material losses, non-/by-product and waste flows are associated an economic value (standardized to ISO 14051).

  4. 4.

    LCA quantifies the input and output flows and stocks of materials and energy of entire product life cycles and assesses the associated environmental impacts, such as global warming and eutrophication potential (standardized to ISO 14040).

  5. 5.

    SNA investigates social structures of networks and characterizes elements within the network in terms of nodes (e.g. individual actors, companies, people) and the connecting ties or links (relationships or interactions).

  6. 6.

    REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer, enabling the realization of web services. Data is transferred via HTTP without the need for an additional transport layer such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) or session management via cookies. The clients send their requests to the server. The server processes them and returns a corresponding response. This communication is regarded in REST as a transfer of representations of resources. An application can interact with a resource if it knows the identifier of the resource and the action to be performed and can interpret the format of the returned information (representation). The server makes its external capabilities available not as services, but as resources that are identified via a URI (Uniform Resource Identifier).

  7. 7.

    AngularJS is a library written in JavaScript for the development of dynamic web applications.

  8. 8.

    The MVC architecture is a programming methodology with three core components: a model, a view, and a controller.

  9. 9.

    Spring Boot is an open source framework for simplified application development with Java/Java EE.

  10. 10.

    MySQL is a relational database management system. It is available as open source software as well as a commercial enterprise version for various operating systems and forms the basis for many dynamic websites.

  11. 11.

    Java Persistence API (JPA) enables database access and object-relational mapping. This enables an object-oriented view of tables and relationships in a relational database management system (RDBMS). JPA can be used to work with objects instead of SQL statements.

  12. 12.

    Black box: the company is displayed as one process with all input and output flows.

  13. 13.

    A Sankey diagram is a graphical representation of quantity flows with arrows proportional to the quantity.


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Lütje, A., Leber, S., Scholten, J., Wohlgemuth, V. (2021). Web Tool for the Identification of Industrial Symbioses in Industrial Parks. In: Kamilaris, A., Wohlgemuth, V., Karatzas, K., Athanasiadis, I.N. (eds) Advances and New Trends in Environmental Informatics. Progress in IS. Springer, Cham.

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