Energy-based industrial symbiosis: a literature review for circular energy transition

Luca Fraccascia*, Vahid Yazdanpanah, Guido van Capelleveen, Devrim Murat Yazan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
91 Downloads (Pure)


Nowadays, industrial symbiosis (IS) is recognized as a key strategy to support the transition toward the circular economy. IS deals with the (re)use of wastes produced by a production process as a substitute for traditional production inputs of other traditionally disengaged processes. In this context, this paper provides a systematic literature review on the energy-based IS approach, i.e., IS synergies aimed at reducing the amount of energy requirement from outside industrial systems or the amount of traditional fuels used in energy production. This approach is claimed as effective aimed at reducing the use of traditional fuels in energy production, thus promoting a circular energy transition. 682 papers published between 1997 and 2018 have been collected, and energy-based IS cases have been identified among 96 of these. As a result of the literature review, three categories of symbiotic synergies have been identified: (1) energy cascade; (2) fuel replacement; and (3) bioenergy production. Through the review, different strategies to implement energy-based IS synergies are highlighted and discussed for each of the above-mentioned categories. Furthermore, drivers, barriers, and enablers of business development in energy-based IS are discussed from the technical, economic, regulatory, and institutional perspective. Accordingly, future research directions are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020


  • Circular economy
  • Energy
  • Energy-based industrial symbiosis
  • Industrial symbiosis
  • Systematic literature review


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