All news, insights and events
All news, insights and events
All news, insights and events

Unleashing Industrial Symbiosis: a journey towards a circular economy in Boden

The integrated Project of the Year (iPoY) of EIT InnoEnergy Master’s in Sustainable Energy Systems is an exciting chance for students to dig their teeth into a real-world project and apply the concepts they’ve learnt. It’s an intense and challenging year-long engagement and a fantastic journey that can lead to great opportunities! Fourteen students, aided by big energy industry player ABB, are now coming into the home stretch of their iPoY – setting up the framework for Industrial Symbiosis in Boden, Sweden. Team members Julian Hausweiler, Enzo Cording, Parvathi Thampi, and Teodora Lazar give us a peek into their “Cirln” project.

Project Cirln

The team shares the background: “The CirIn – Circular Industries – project facilitates the transition of traditionally linear industry towards a circular economy. Today’s industries aren’t always using their by-products and waste streams efficiently, which is bad for the economy, environment, and supply chain security. Therefore, CirIn connects industrial stakeholders by creating value from otherwise wasted material and energy streams. This includes identifying potential value streams, optimising them, and including different stakeholders.” The team chose Boden for their testing grounds since it’s a small city with large-scale renewable energy production and a very supportive municipality. H2GreenSteel is even building the first large-scale clean steel production plant there! “Combining this growth potential with a supportive municipality is the perfect springboard for Industrial Symbiosis (IS). IS can create sustainable ecosystems and increase the supply chain and food security. So, we aim to develop a methodology to design an IS network that determines where the benefits come from and then figure out how to keep it running successfully. The combination of producing an appropriate business model and a modelling approach to support the IS network creation is very cool and creates a holistic picture.”

Learning curve

These projects show how real situations can be very different from theoretical ones – and allow the students to gain valuable experience. “We’ve realised how challenging it is to successfully coordinate so many stakeholders, let alone a team of 14, and learned a lot from our many industrial partners, such as ABB, H2GreenSteel, and Hive – all of which being very useful for our future careers! We organised a workshop onsite in Boden with all stakeholders, which was a thrilling experience. And we’ve also learned how project development works and how we can contribute to companies at the forefront of sustainability with our innovative mindset. It’s strengthened our self-confidence in our abilities and has been incredibly insightful. Working on a real-time project so closely with corporations, government, high-tech, topic experts, educational institutions, etc., is super challenging and has a big learning curve. But knowing that the results will have a direct impact is so amazing!”

Complimentary knowledge

The team explains how this project, an integral part of their studies, has also been a compliment to their EIT InnoEnergy Master’s in Sustainable Energy Systems programme: “It’s the perfect way to apply the concepts we have learned throughout the last two years because it combines technical, as well as economic challenges, on a systems level. One must understand the big picture and find an optimal solution for all stakeholders. The key word is diversity – as we try to reduce waste streams of various industries by applying sustainable concepts while learning their unique problems. Diversity also applies to the required thinking – both business and technical aspects are essential – luckily, the course curriculum gave us a foundation in both. This project has been an incredible opportunity to collect hands-on industrial experience and has been one of the highlights of our studies. It also challenges your entrepreneurial mindset, making it the perfect starting point for a new business.”

Future opportunities

As the team prepares their final results, they share: “Our findings will show that Industrial Symbiosis can be helpful to the environment and has economic advantages. We’re laying a solid foundation for future development in Boden, which can be a shining example for cities worldwide – and you can keep up with our progress on LinkedIn. On a professional level, we clearly see an opportunity to work with the project partners and are assessing a potential venture!”


Check out the EIT InnoEnergy Master’s in Sustainable Energy Systems programme here!