Circular Retrofitting for Sustainable Industrialization (GeckoCIR)

Project summary

The Gecko project aims to provide scientific insights and an algorithm for designing and projecting high-circular eco-industrial parks in Kenya. The project investigates if and under what conditions developing countries such as Kenya may gain environmental and competitive advantages from early entry into circular ways of organizing production and exchange of resources in symbiosis networks, thereby potentially establishing near closedloop production systems and reducing investments in expensive End of Pipe environmental infrastructures. Critically investigating the potential and scope of industrial symbiosis - where one firm’s residuals become a proximate firm’s resource - is at the core of this research project.

The project outcomes will contribute to the development of a strategy for eco-industrial parks in Kenya as part of their wider green growth strategy and will be a direct input to an ongoing Danish SSC project, which is also using the Ruaraka industrial zone as a core pilot case.

We suggest including and aligning four research areas, which have not been combined before in analyzing symbiosis potentials and dynamics:

1) Green and circular business development at the firm and interfirm (symbiosis) level.
2) Circular governance analyses at local and central levels.
3) Testing and feasibility studies of selected circular technical innovations at the firm and particular interfirm (symbiosis) level.
4) Process systems engineering (PSE) and LCA modelling and validations of circular innovations at the interfirm (symbiosis) and eco-park level.

Using and further developing a green business screening tool developed at DTU, the project investigates critically the symbiosis business case for different types of industries, highlights best practice circular governance, elaborates on selected technical symbiosis solutions and develops an algorithm for designing eco-industrial parks in Kenya.


First year report
The GeckoCir project is well up and running. The project targets upcycling of industrial sidestreams either internally or via industrial symbiosis (where one company's waste becomes another company's resource). The project has a core focus on upcycling food sidestreams into quality food (departing from the practice of downcycling food waste to feed, fertilizer and energy); additionally, we also investigate upcycling food sidestreams into non-food products.

Status for outputs:
- We have trained our two food PhDs and a post doc in Denmark in using our core enabling technology for food upcycling (our Rodee technology).
- The Rodee machine 2.0 has been build and is currently tested at DTU before being shipped to Kenya in October.
- We have managed to confirm nearly all of our company cases (9 so far). The planned two core industrial areas have been changed as some core companies were moving out, others were located elsewhere than we had been told, so we now have three core industrial areas: Ruaraka in Nairobi (where we continue with some of the companies from the pilot 'Gecko' project), EPZ Athi River, and Thika industrial area, allowing for interesting comparisons. Our core cases are sidestream upcycling from: Avocado oil, mango juice, coffee roasting, french beans, macadamia nuts, a confectionary, a sausage producer, likely a brewery.

Status for partnerships and joint activities:
The project is organized in a food-bio and business-policy group.

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