Understanding resilience in industrial symbiosis networks: insights from network analysis

J Environ Manage. 2014 Aug 1:141:86-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.12.038. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


Industrial symbiotic networks are based on the principles of ecological systems where waste equals food, to develop synergistic networks. For example, industrial symbiosis (IS) at Kalundborg, Denmark, creates an exchange network of waste, water, and energy among companies based on contractual dependency. Since most of the industrial symbiotic networks are based on ad-hoc opportunities rather than strategic planning, gaining insight into disruptive scenarios is pivotal for understanding the balance of resilience and sustainability and developing heuristics for designing resilient IS networks. The present work focuses on understanding resilience as an emergent property of an IS network via a network-based approach with application to the Kalundborg Industrial Symbiosis (KIS). Results from network metrics and simulated disruptive scenarios reveal Asnaes power plant as the most critical node in the system. We also observe a decrease in the vulnerability of nodes and reduction in single points of failure in the system, suggesting an increase in the overall resilience of the KIS system from 1960 to 2010. Based on our findings, we recommend design strategies, such as increasing diversity, redundancy, and multi-functionality to ensure flexibility and plasticity, to develop resilient and sustainable industrial symbiotic networks.

Keywords: Betweenness centrality; Degree centrality; Industrial symbiosis; Network analysis; Resilience; Systemic vulnerability.

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Denmark
  • Industrial Waste
  • Industry*


  • Industrial Waste