Replication of industrial ecosystems: the case of a sustainable biogas-for-traffic solution

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Distributed energy systems are key in building a sustainable energy economy. Biofuels are an example of an industry that needs to be based on a system of rather small-scale local production units due to the limited transportation radius of biomass. Moreover, the benefits of biofuels are greater if their production is based on the integration of local production activities and consumption among traditionally separate industries, as implied by the notion of industrial symbiosis. Such an arrangement, however, requires the establishment of industrial ecosystems that are customised to local conditions, which increases costs and uncertainty for the involved stakeholders and the integrating company. In this paper, we discuss replication strategy as a means of transferring not only technical knowledge, but also the business format to new locations, thereby achieving ‘economies of repetition’. The case of a biogas-for traffic solution serves as an illustrative example. We analyse the establishment of a ‘vanguard’ ecosystem and assess the potential of replicating the solution in six other locations. Based on this, we propose a replication framework that builds on functional modularisation, collaboration mechanisms required for cooperating with the relevant stakeholders, and organisational learning. The replication approach is expected to be useful for the companies attempting to build sustainable distributed energy systems based on industrial symbiosis.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)123–132
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Distributed energy
  • Replication
  • Industrial symbiosis
  • Economies of repetition
  • Biogas

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