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Tue Jul 29, 2014, 11:32 AM


Has this Danish community found the formula for environmentally friendly industry?

"When we look closely at systems in nature — coral reefs or rainforests, for instance — we see something we don’t often see in human systems: mutually beneficial relationships and energy flows among the various elements, such as air, water, rocks, soil, and plant and animal life. If we emulate these relationships in our cities and in our industrial infrastructure, we can vastly improve the sustainability of natural resources and energy use.

That’s exactly what the municipality of Kalundborg, 64 miles west of Copenhagen, is doing. In fact, for over 50 years, Kalundborg has been home to the first — and still the most advanced — example of this concept: the Kalundborg Symbiosis. Anchored originally by a power and district heating plant, this innovative industrial complex has grown to include some large and profitable enterprises, including the biggest oil refinery in the Baltic Region; an insulin-producing plant with 2,700 employees; factories making enzymes for use in everything from bioenergy to textiles, and gypsum for lightweight building materials; and the largest sewage treatment plant in northern Europe. Heat, water and a host of other resources that would otherwise be treated as waste supply some of the energy and many of the feedstocks to these operations and to the surrounding municipality, including farms.

“To some visitors, it can be a little confusing here because it’s old and new, private houses and industrial area,” says Lisbeth Randers, a project officer with the Symbiosis Center, the complex’s outreach arm. “The way it works in Denmark is that residential and industrial have to find a way to live and work next to each other. If the industries were polluting a lot, there would be many complaints and penalties. But environmental protection is so good in Denmark, we don’t have that.”

The heart of the industrial complex at Kalundborg occupies 4 square kilometers, nearly 1,000 acres. Throughout the site, inputs and outputs weave together like strands of thread, creating a tapestry of efficiency. The DONG Energy power plant, for instance, provides not only electricity to the grid but steam to four industrial plants, as well as heat to the local municipality and to a fish farm. In return it receives water from a refinery and the municipality, and gas from the refinery. It also sends its fly ash for processing by the cement industry and its gypsum to be made into building materials.


Interesting stuff, or so I think.

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HuckleB Jul 2014 OP
HuckleB Jul 2014 #1

Response to HuckleB (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:10 PM

1. An evening kick, in case anyone is interested.

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