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Secondary Resources in the Bio-Based Economy: A Computer Assisted Survey of Value Pathways in Academic Literature
Center for Energy and Environmental Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Department of Research and Development, Ragn-Sells AB, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6262-0609
Department of Engineering Systems and Services, TU Delft, Delft, The Netherlands.
2017 (English)In: Waste and Biomass Valorization, ISSN 1877-2641, E-ISSN 1877-265X, Vol. 5, no 6, 1-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on value pathways for organic wastes has been steadily increasing in recent decades. There have been few considerably broad overview studies of such materials and their valuation potential in the bio-based economy in part because of the vast multitude of materials and processes that can be used to produce energy carriers, chemicals, and materials of value. This article explores how automated data analysis approaches can help in analyzing large bodies of text to distill and present potential value pathways for secondary (waste) bio-based materials. The study employed multiple methods (literature collection, topic modelling, and co-occurrence analysis) on a collection of abstracts from 53,292 academic articles covering technologies, applications, and products (TAPs) for bio-based wastes. The results of both the topic modelling and co-occurrence analysis are presented as online interactive web pages. The topic modelling presented an overview of research clusters related to secondary organic resources, processes, and disciplines. The co-occurrence analysis helped to understand which TAPs are researched in relation to a broad spectrum of organic wastes. Co-occurrences were evaluated using the Normalized Pointwise Mutual Information measure to locate terms which co-occur more frequently than would be expected by chance. Through the use of detailed lists of organic wastes and TAPs, the co-occurrence method mapped out 7118 unique intersections between 473 specific wastes and 228 TAPs. This technique enables us to find seemingly non-obvious valorization pathways such as the re-use of oyster shells as catalysts for bio-diesel production and bioplastic production from brewery waste. While a proof-of-concept, this work points the way for using Big Data to suggest novel pathways for implementing the Circular Economy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2017. Vol. 5, no 6, 1-18 p.
Keyword [en]
By-product, Waste valorization, Circular economy, Recycling, Industrial symbiosis, Big Data
National Category
Environmental Sciences Environmental Biotechnology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-138067DOI: 10.1007/s12649-017-9975-0ScopusID: 2-s2.0-85020108904OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-138067DiVA: diva2:1106681
Available from: 2017-06-08 Created: 2017-06-08 Last updated: 2017-06-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Operationalizing Industrial Ecology in the Waste Sector: Roles and tactics for circular value innovation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operationalizing Industrial Ecology in the Waste Sector: Roles and tactics for circular value innovation
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The take-make-waste approach to resource management in human production and consumption systems is contributing to a variety of environmental and social problems worldwide. Additionally, as the world’s population and affluence increase, so do the negative impacts of poor resource management. Lifting the waste management (WM) sector into a new phase of development, which takes its lead from the ideals of Industrial Ecology and circular economy, is seen by many scholars and practitioners as one potential to assist in alleviating these impacts. While there are many studies on how more efficient inter-organizational resource management is (or could be) constructed, there are relatively few business development studies which have explored novel approaches (from roles to tactics) that WM organizations might operationalize toward more efficient resource management.

The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the development of knowledge and understanding of how the waste management sector can operationalize more effective and efficient resource management. In approaching this aim, two research questions guided the exploration of: 1) novel roles for WM and 2) support tactics for such roles. Grounded in the broader context of Industrial Ecology (IE) and Business Development, five studies were performed. Two studies, focused on the novel roles of inter-organizational resource management and high value secondary resource extraction, were performed through literature review and interviews, and market driver analysis respectively. In exploring support tactics, two design and proof of concept studies were carried out to investigate data analysis tools for inter-organizational resource management, and one long-term action research engagement project was coordinated to study hands-on inter-organizational collaboration tactics.

The studies highlighted that the Swedish WM sector holds some key capacities for operationalizing (and in some cases, is already developing) the novel resource management roles identified: industrial symbiosis facilitator, eco-industrial park manager, holistic facility management, and high value resource extractor. However, depending on the portfolio of services to be performed in such roles, several capacities may need to be developed or strengthened. Main opportunities seen for these roles were – staying ahead of market developments, and aligning activities with organizational goals. The main general risk related to these roles was insufficient returns on investment. Looking forward, the main enablers identified were policy leadership for more balanced market mechanisms, increasing use of external knowledge, developing long term partnerships, lobbying, stockpiling resources, and carefully crafting new business models.

The tools developed for strategically applying external information toward the identification of opportunities within new roles showed tactical potential. However, their implementation in broader development processes has yet to be fully validated. The hands-on exploration of change oriented collaboration, highlighted collective system framing and goal setting and face-to-face interaction as key activities for inter-organizational approaches within roles such as industrial symbiosis facilitator.

Throughout the studies, several novel roles were investigated. Each of these roles will need to be individually evaluated by directing bodies of WM organizations, and evaluated from the organization’s vision and strategy. If certain roles are chosen to be explored in more detail, they will need to be developed within full business models - addressing issues such as income structure, internal processes and capacities to be developed, and key customers. Through applying IE and business development concepts and findings, WM organizations have possibilities to translate ambitious visions into novel offerings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2017. 82 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1856
National Category
Environmental Sciences Environmental Management Computer and Information Science Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137464 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-137464 (DOI)9789176855140 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-14, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-16 Created: 2017-05-16 Last updated: 2017-06-09Bibliographically approved

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