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25 – The “BIO4BIO” project in Sicily, Southern Italy: a case in which researchers helped companies in exploiting their know-how and local agro industries’ waste to create new symbiotic exchanges and access new markets

The “BIO4BIO” project supported by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) and led by the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment (ENEA) is aimed at valorising waste from agroindustry, one of the most diffused industrial sectors in Southern Italy. Within the scope of this project, several new symbiotic exchanges have been identified and evaluated in Sicily region, involving plastic product producers, fruit juice producers, animal feed producers, bio fuel producers and agro industries.

Participating companies’ interest in Industrial Symbiosis is mainly driven by their need to face the challenge to enter new markets and increase their competitiveness, while preserving the surrounding environment. For example, a plastic products producer wanted to enter the market of biofuel and biopolymers production, exploiting its experience in thermochemical conversion processes.

The main barrier that companies had to face in order to reach this goal was the high effort required in terms of time and resources (considering both people and machineries) in order to develop, test and scale up new technologies required for waste treatment.

The approach used by the companies in this case in order to overcome such barrier was to get involved in a project (“BIO4BIO”) which gave them direct access to latest research findings as well as to European funds.

The discovery process followed by ENEA, which acted as main facilitator, started with the identification of several alternatives to reuse participating companies’ waste or to use neighbouring agro industries’ waste as raw material. Then, they also provided support in finding potential partners and in developing technical solutions to make the exchange feasible. Finally, they helped verifying the feasibility of the exchanges from a technical and legislative point of view.

The main precondition that led to the identification of several new exchanges in Sicily was the fact that participating companies had a manifested tendency to invest in continuous improvement activity and were quite flexible as regards the addition of new non-core businesses to their portfolio. Furthermore, in many cases companies already had sufficient expertise to identify and to design new symbiotic exchanges and related technologies, and only required facilitation to implement them at an industrial scale.

Source: Falqui, L., Cutaia, L., 2015. Presentation of the BIO4BIO project.

The source contains the description of new potential IS exchanges.
ID:5 You can use the source ID to identify exchanges taken from this source in the Exchanges Database. To find out more, check out the Instructions for use in the Exchanges Database.


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