Kalundborg, Denmark
Xu Yedan   Apr 30.2016


It is important to point out that the example of Kalundborg in Denmark strictly speaking is an example of an industrial network, and not an industrial estate. However, as a case study it is an excellent illustration of the application of an Industrial Ecology approach and is certainly relevant to an industrial estate. The example of Kalundborg is often quoted in the literature, perhaps because it is simple enough to allow the idea of an industrial ecosystem to be appreciated and yet sufficiently sophisticated to give a feeling for the enormous potential of this approach.

Reason to Be Selected

The history of Kalundborg really began in 1961 with a project to use surface water from Lake Tissø for a new oil refinery in order to save the limited supplies of ground water (Christensen, 1999). The city of Kalundborg took the responsibility for building the pipeline while the refinery financed it. Starting from this initial collaboration, a number of other collaborative projects were subsequently introduced and the number of partners gradually increased. By the end of the 1980's, the partners realised that they had effectively "self-organised" into what is probably the best-known example of a working industrial ecosystem, or to use their term - an industrial symbiosis.


In addition to several companies that participate as recipients of materials or energy, the ecosystem

today consists of six main partners –

· Asnæs power station - part of SK Power Company and the largest coal-fired plant producing electricity in Denmark.

· Statoil - an oil refinery belonging to the Norwegian State oil company. 

· Novo Nordisk - a multi-national biotechnology company that is the largest producer of insulin and industrial enzymes.

· Gyproc - a Swedish company producing plasterboard for the building industry.

· The town of Kalundborg, which receives excess heat from Asnaes for its residential district heating system.

· Bioteknisk Jordrens - a soil remediation company that joined the Symbiosis in 1998.


The status of the industrial symbiosis in 1999 is shown in Figure 1 (Christensen, 1999). From this diagram we can appreciate how extensive the collaboration regarding materials and energy is. In our discussion here, however, we shall focus only on the most important flows.


It is important to understand initially that water is a scarce resource in this part of Denmark and is therefore systematically valorised. As we mentioned above, in order to reduce consumption of ground water, Lake Tissø has become the main source of water for the industrial partners in Kalundborg. The reduction in the use of ground water has been estimated at close to 2 million cubic metres per year (Christensen, 1999). However, in order to reduce overall water consumption by the partners, the Statoil refinery supplies its purified wastewater as well as its used cooling water to Asnæs power station, thereby allowing this water to be "used twice" and saving additionally 1 million cubic metres of water per year. Asnæs power station supplies steam both to Statoil and Novo Nordisk for heating of their processes. By functioning in a co-generation mode, the power station is able to increase its efficiency. Excess gas from the operations at the Statoil refinery is treated to remove sulfur, which is sold as a raw material for the manufacture of sulfuric acid, and the clean gas is then supplied to Asnæs power station and to Gyproc as an energy source. In 1993 Asnæs power station installed a desulfurisation unit to remove sulfur from its flue gases, which allows it to produce calcium sulfate (gypsum). This is the main raw material in the manufacture of plasterboard at Gyproc. By purchasing synthetic "waste" gypsum from Asnæs power station, Gyproc has been able to replace the natural gypsum that it used to buy from Spain. In 1998 approximately 190,000 tons per year of synthetic gypsum were available from the power station. Novo Nordisk creates a large quantity of used bio-mass coming from its synthetic processes and the company has realised that this can be used as a fertiliser since it contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The local farming communities use more than 800,000 cubic metres of this liquid fertiliser each year as well as over 60,000 tons of a solid form of the fertiliser. Finally, residual heat is also provided by Asnæs power station to the district heating system of the town. The system functions via heat ex-changers so that the industrial water and the district heating water are kept separate.


Lat: 55.6727
Lng: 11.063
Region: Europe
Scale: Building
Field: Environment
City: Kalundborg