Researchers from IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and Linköping University have examined what scale of environmental savings can be achieved from industrial symbiosis, a tool whereby companies collaborate to increase resource efficiency and sustainability. One of the subjects they studied was the industrial network in which the paper mill and sawmill in Braviken are both involved, along with garden product supplier Econova, Norrköping Municipality and the district heating plant operated by Tekniska Verken. The idea behind the industrial network is to exchange by-products, waste and energy. Residual material from one party can take on a new life with another.

“Econova uses our composted fibre sludge as a raw material to produce bulk soil and filling materials. Since the fibre sludge works as a substitute for peat, we are saving on natural resources and cutting carbon emissions,” explains Leonard Dahlberg, environmental and quality engineer at Braviken.

The various parties also supply heat to each other.

“Econova and Braviken Sawmill supply biofuel to us and we deliver heat to the sawmill, which they use in the kilns to dry planks and boards”

The researchers reached the conclusion that the industrial network outside Norrköping is of real benefit to the environment, saving 170 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 750 tonnes of phosphate and 190 tonnes of sulphur dioxide each year.