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Circular economy and the energy transition – potential of a Flemish circularity hub for EV Li-ion batteries

Circular economy and the energy transition – potential of a Flemish circularity hub for EV Li-ion batteries

C
Author: 
CE Center | Circular Economy Policy Research Center
Publication Date: 
05/2019
Country: 
Belgium

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Scope:

How can a "strategic stock management" approach shed light on the potential of circular strategies for critical raw materials? This reports provides insights at regional macro-economic level for policy-makers.

The future economic and environmental potential of a Flemish Circularity Hub for li-ion batteries from electric vehicles is explored as a case study with high policy relevance.

Modelling job creation in the circular economy in Flanders

Modelling job creation in the circular economy in Flanders

Modelling job creation in the circular economy in Flanders
Author: 
CE Center | Circular Economy Policy Research Center
Publication Date: 
05/2019
Country: 
Belgium

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Key Area:

This research paper on Modelling job creation in the circular economy in Flanders is the second output of the research line that studies employment and actor analysis for the circular economy. It presents the summary of an assignment conducted for the Department of Work and Social Economy of the Flemish Government, with support from the Flemish Circular Economy Policy Research Center.

The goal of this research paper is to investigate the impact of the transition to a more circular economy on employment in Flanders.

Circular Cities - Impacts on Decarbonization and beyond

Circular Cities - Impacts on Decarbonization and beyond

To evaluate the impact of adopting circular economy principles in cities – in terms of emissions, quality of life and resilience – Enel and ARUP, with the scientific support of the Enel Foundation, have collaborated on a research project focusing on four cities: Bogotá, Genoa, Glasgow and Milan, all committed to enhancing the energy transition.

The study concerns three key urban sectors:

  1. mobility
  2. built environment
  3. energy systems.

It entailed interviews with stakeholders and analyses of existing decarbonisation policies and circular strategies. A reference model was used to help identify the most significant circular actions that could lead to a reduction in GHG emissions in three sectors.

The results could be used as a guide for decision makers.

How robust is the circular economy in Europe? An ascendency analysis with Eurostat data between 2010 and 2018

shutterstock_1994233649

The authors of the study apply ascendency analysis (a systematic method based on information theory for quantifying the efficiency and resilience of natural ecosystems) at EU level and discuss the implications for urban waste management systems, taking the Netherlands as an example.

They argue that ecological principles can be useful for developing human-made systems. The system is made sufficiently robust to be able to cope with shocks by including a diverse set of stakeholders who provide:

  1. resource-use efficiency through specialised know-how in capturing, processing and delivering a range of resources, and
  2. resilience by generating multiple paths that allow these vital resources to circulate throughout the urban network at different levels and rates.

European food banks and COVID-19: Resilience and innovation in times of crisis

European food banks and COVID-19: Resilience and innovation in times of crisis

European Food Banks Federation
Author: 
Paula Victoria Capodistrias, Julia Szulecka , Matteo Corciolani , Nhat Strøm-Andersen
Publication Date: 
11/2021
Country: 
EU
Norway

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Paula Victoria Capodistrias Contact details

The European Food Banks Federation (FEBA) works on raising awareness about the problems of food waste and poverty, lifting obstacles to food donation for social purposes, and promoting the circular economy.

This research paper examines the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the functioning of European food banks and how resilient European food banks were in coping with the pandemic in 2020.

The researchers apply a multiple case study to assess how the first year of the pandemic affected European food banks’ operations and the amount of redistributed food. They further investigate innovation practices that have been developed to cope with the new situation, hoping to draw lessons for imminent future waves of the pandemic and other social crises.

The circular economy as a de-risking strategy and driver of superior risk-adjusted returns

The circular economy as a de-risking strategy and driver of superior risk-adjusted returns

The circular economy as a de-risking strategy and driver of superior risk-adjusted returns
Author: 
Bocconi University, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Intesa Sanpaolo
Publication Date: 
08/2021
Country: 
United Kingdom

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Bocconi University’s analysis of 200+ European, publicly listed companies across 14 industries shows that the higher the circularity of a company, the lower its risk of defaulting on debt, and the higher the risk-adjusted returns on its stock.

The paper reveals how circular economy strategies can reduce investment risk by decoupling economic growth from resource consumption, diversifying business models, and allowing businesses to better anticipate stricter regulation and changing customer preferences. Embedding circular economy principles also reduces exposure to supply chain disruptions and volatility of resource prices.

Wasted bread: New culture medium for growing starters from bakery waste in the fermented food industry

Bread Waste
Author: 
Michela Verni - Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy, Andrea Minisci - Valle Fiorita Catering S.r.l, Ostuni, Italy, Sonia Convertino -Valle Fiorita Catering S.r.l, Ostuni, Italy, Luana Nionelli - Valle Fiorita Catering S.r.l, Ostuni, Italy, Carlo G. Rizzello - Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy
Publication Date: 
02/2020
Country: 
Italy

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Through fermentation, bread scraps can produce chemical compounds for the pharmaceutical and food industries, fuels and enzymes. The starters (which kickstart the fermentation process) obtained by this project confirm the huge economic and technological potential of a growing substrate obtained from low-cost matrices.

The protocol includes homogenisation of the waste bread (leavened bakery products), with the addition of enzymes and final sterilisation.

The culture medium can be liquid (broth), solid (agar) or dehydrated. The substrate can be used for cultivating lactic bacteria, yeasts and moulds (for the food industry).

About 10% of the bread waste produced monthly can be used to yield a culture medium for bacterial starters.

Green and digital "twin" transitions: process of structuration and evolution of circular economy and industrial digitalisation

Green and digital "twin" transitions: process of structuration and evolution of circular economy and industrial digitalisation

Author: 
Carlos Montalvo, Kristina Karanikolova, Fernando Diaz Lopez
Publication Date: 
06/2021
Country: 
Netherlands

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Scope:

Over the past decades concepts such as sustainability and industrial development have slowly come to the same operational logic, as demonstrated by a growing interest in exploring and describing the synergy between developments in the circular economy and industrial digitalisation. There is agreement on their complementarity evolution paths, but no outlook is available regarding the co-evolution staging and structuring. This paper based on desk and empirical research presents an approach to outline the likely path of evolution.

So far, the notion of transition to sustainability has been applied in single sector studies, while reality indicates that the systemic change required cuts across thematic technologies and sectors. The approach taken can be useful to enrich current analyses.

European environment policy for the circular economy: Implications for business and industry stakeholders

European environment policy for the circular economy

EU institutions and agencies are increasingly raising awareness about the circular economy agenda. They are encouraging marketplace stakeholders to engage in sustainable production and consumption by reducing, reusing, restoring, refurbishing and recycling resources throughout their value chain.

This research evaluates the latest European environmental policies including the new circular economy plans for a cleaner and more competitive Europe. It then goes on to present a systematic literature review focused on the circular economy in the EU context. The findings suggest that there are a number of opportunities and challenges for the successful planning, organisation, implementation and measurement of circular economy practices.

Analysing European Union circular economy policies: words versus actions

Analysing European Union circular economy policies: words versus actions

ScienceDirect

The academic paper "Analysing European Union circular economy policies: words versus actions" comprehensively reviews and analyses the EU’s circular economy (CE) policies. Results show a dichotomy between words and actions, with a discourse that is rather holistic, while policies focus on “end of pipe solutions”.

To address these limitations, the paper proposes a set of 32 science-based policy recommendations which can help strengthen circular economy policies both within and outside the EU. This research thus brings key insights for practitioners and academics seeking to better understand the EU’s CE policies and how to improve circular economy implementation at both national and international level.

See here for more results, insights and recommendations.

Unveiling a Recycling-Sourced Mineral-Biocellulose Fibre Composite for Use in Combustion-Generated NOx Mitigation Forming Plant Nutrient: Meeting Sustainability Development Goals in the Circular Economy

Unveiling a recycling-sourced composite to help meet Sustainable Development Goals in the circular economy

MDPI
Author: 
Patrick Gane, Katarina Dimić-Mišić, Nemanja Barać, Monireh Imani , Djordje Janaćković, Petar Uskoković, Ernest Barceló
Publication Date: 
06/2020
Country: 
Switzerland

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NOx (nitrogen oxides) are emitted during combustion in air at high temperatures and/or pressure; if they exceed recommended levels, this has a negative impact on the population. The authors found that when moist, limestone (CaCO3) readily sorbs NO2 to form calcium nitrate, which provides the basis for developing a surface flow filter. The substrate was made from “over-recycled” cellulose fibres such as newsprint, magazines and packaging fibres which are too weak for further recycling. The substrate was coated with fine-ground calcium carbonate and micro-nano-fibrillated cellulose, which was used as a binder and essential humectant to prevent a stagnant air layer forming. Pre-oxidation countered the action of denitrification bacteria colonising the cellulose substrate.

A typology of circular economy discourses: Navigating the diverse visions of a contested paradigm

A typology of circular economy discourses: Navigating the diverse visions of a contested paradigm

Typology
Interactive timeline
Author: 
Martin Calisto Friant, Walter J.V. Vermeulen, Roberta Salomone
Publication Date: 
05/2020
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Martin Calisto Friant

This research reviews the long history and diversity of circularity thinking to develop a comprehensive timeline, which identifies and conceptually classifies 72 different CE-related concepts from the Global North and South alike (such as industrial ecology, Gandhian and steady-state economics, buen vivir, doughnut economics, degrowth).

In November 2020 the paper was completed with an interactive timeline that helps researchers and practitioners better situate and navigate the concept of circular economy, both in its rich historical origins and in its theoretical diversity. It thus fosters a cross-pollination of concepts and ideas which can help address the complex socio-ecological challenges of the 21st century.

To learn more about this timeline, please click here.

Ecopreneur.eu: Circular fashion and textile producing countries

Ecopreneur cotton

Textiles and clothing play an important role in our everyday life. But the global fashion industry model is unsustainable. It uses large amounts of resources and has negative impacts on the environment and people. The global fashion industry, therefore, has to make a transition towards a circular model. In a ‘circular’ fashion economy, clothes, textiles, and fibres are kept at their highest value during use and re-enter the economy to avoid becoming waste.

This research note produced by Ecopreneur.eu is a first inventory of the potential impacts of future EU circular fashion on non-European textile producing countries. It uses existing literature and input from four circular economy experts to analyse the economic, social and environmental impacts. 

The Circular Economy's Closed Loop and Product Service Systems: A Review and Appraisal

The circular economy's closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: A review and appraisal

Author: 
Mark Anthony Camilleri
Publication Date: 
10/2018
Country: 
Malta, United Kingdom

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Contact: 
Mark Anthony Camilleri

This review paper of Mark Anthony Camilleri examines relevant regulatory guidelines, policies, and recommendations on sustainable development, where it traces the origins of circular economy (CE). It goes on to shed light on key theoretical underpinnings of CE's closed loop and product service systems.

The findings suggest that the CE's regenerative systems minimise the environmental impact as practitioners reduce their externalities, including waste, emissions, and energy leakages through the use and reuse of resources. Therefore, this contribution offers a critique on CE's inherent limitations and discusses about the implications of having regulatory interventions that are intended to encourage responsible consumption and production behaviours.

Promoting a Just Transition to an Inclusive Circular Economy

Chatham House report: Promoting a Just Transition to an Inclusive Circular Economy

Just Transition

Today, only 8.6% of the resources and materials in the global economy are reused or recycled.
A crucial transition to a circular economy is required to reach the environmental goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to achieve countries’ climate targets as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

In this context, it is essential to ensure that the transition to a resource-efficient and circular economic model also delivers on social objectives.

This paper introduces the relevance of the circular economy in the international development SDG context. It also explores how a just transition approach can be successfully applied in the circular economy context.

The URBANREC project: new approaches for recovery of urban bulky waste to create high added-value recycled products

URBANREC: recovering urban bulky waste to create high added-value recycled products

Author: 
Anabel Crespo, Head of the AIMPLAS Composites Department
Publication Date: 
04/2020
Country: 
Spain

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Contact: 
Anabel Crespo

Despite continuous advances in municipal waste management, there are still several waste streams that offer limited opportunities for material recovery and thus end up in landfills and incineration plants.

One challenging stream is the “bulky waste”, defined by the URBANREC project as “(mixed) waste from households and similar waste from companies that does not fit (because of its size, shape or weight) in the regular receptacles used for household waste collection".

In this context, the URBANREC project aims to develop and implement a comprehensive eco-innovative bulky waste management system (to enhance prevention and reuse, improve logistics and develop new waste treatment methods to obtain high added-value recycled products) and show its effectiveness in different regions.

Remelting and Purification of Si-Kerf for PV-Wafers

Research: Remelting and purification of silicon kerf for photovoltaic wafers

Author: 
M. Syvertsen, T. Halvorsen, K. Mørk, A. Nordmark, T. Kaden, A. Ulyashin
Publication Date: 
09/2017
Country: 
Other (Norway)

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Scope:

Contact: 
Alexander Ulyashin

Research on Remelting and Purification of Si-kerf for PV wafers is part of CABRISS, a European collaboration aimed to develop a circular economy mainly for the photovoltaic but also other industries such as electronics or metallurgy.

During production of silicon wafers out of silicon (Si) ingots and wafers, about 40–50% of the material is lost due to the cutting technique. The research had kerf from slurry based wafer cuttings undergoing several refining steps and being remelted into ingots for PV-application.

Conclusion: With 10%  refined material, ingots were still directionally solidified, whereas with 100% refined material, they were not. The presented refining method does not allow for ingots with 100% refined material to be used as PV-material.

Recycling of broken Si based structures and solar cells

Recycling broken solar cells into new silicon feedstock

Author: 
Syvertsen, Martin, Ryningen, Birgit, Sabatino, Marisa Di, Palitzsch, Wolfram, Moller, HJ, Audoin, Claire, Serasset, Marion, Pelletier, David, Rakotoniania, Jean Patrice, Dieguez, Joaquim, Souto, Alejandro, Denafas, Julius, Petreniene, Lina, Pranaitis, Mindaugas, Cyras, Valirus, Zulobas, Rytis, Ulyashin, Alexander
Publication Date: 
06/2017
Country: 
Other (Norway)

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Scope:

Contact: 
Alexander Ulyashin

The project Recycling of broken Si based structures and solar cells is part of CABRISS, a European collaboration aimed to develop a circular economy mainly for the photovoltaic (PV), but also for other industries such as electronics or metallurgy.

The paper presents some tests in which broken solar cell structures coming from an early stage in the PV production process chain as well as broken finished solar cells have been recycled into new silicon (Si) feedstock through demetallisation, purification and directional solidification.

The paper explores two different routes to remove diffusion layers and anti-reflection coating (ARC) on broken cells. It also presents the characteristics of ingots produced with the Si-feedstock from the two routes by directional solidification.

Global Circular Economy Scenario in a Multiregional Input–Output Framework

A Global Circular Economy Scenario?

Author: 
Kirsten S. Wiebe, Marek Harsdorff, Guillermo Montt, Moana S. Simas, Richard Wood
Publication Date: 
05/2019
Country: 
Other (Norway)

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Contact: 
Kirsten S. Wiebe

In a resource-constrained world the future economy will need to be circular.

From a policy perspective, the question is whether averting catastrophic environmental impacts through an accelerated transition to a global circular economy can also deliver sustained growth and jobs.

Multiregional input−output (MRIO) analysis models the interdependencies between industries and within/between countries as well as between intermediate and final goods producers and consumers, thus providing a useful toolbox for assessing social, environmental, and economy-wide impacts of the adoption of the circular economy.

This research paper resorts to this toolbox to compare the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario to an alternative circular economy scenario.

Circular economy strategies for adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings to reduce environmental impacts

Cultural heritage buildings hold a unique niche in the urban landscape, as they embody the local cultural and historic characteristics that define communities. Extending their useful lifespan has multiple benefits that go beyond the project itself to the surrounding area, contributing to sustainable development, but decision-makers lack knowledge of the environmental benefits and tools for adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings.

To this end, this article provides a circular economy framework for the adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings to reduce environmental impacts. The framework integrates methods and techniques from building and construction literature that aim to reduce lifecycle environmental impact of buildings through a circular product supply chain approach.

Circular economy – From review of theories and practices to development of implementation tools

Author: 
Yuliya Kalmykova, Madumita Sadagopan, Leonardo Rossa
Publication Date: 
08/2018
Country: 
Sweden

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The paper provides an overview of the literature on Circular Economy (CE) theoretical approaches, strategies and implementation cases. After analyzing different CE approaches and the underlying principles the paper then proceeds with the main goal of developing tools for CE implementation. Two tools are presented: a CE Strategies Database, which includes 45 CE strategies that are applicable to different parts of the value chain and secondly a CE Implementation Database, which includes over 100 case studies categorized by ScopeParts of the Value Chain that are involved, as well as by the used Strategy andImplementation Level. An analysis of the state of the art in CE implementation is also included in the paper.

One of the observations from the analysis is that while Parts of the Value Chain (recovery/recycling, consumption/use) are prominently featured, others, including manufacturing and distribution, are rarely involved in CE. On the other hand, the Implementation Levels of the used Strategies indicate that many market-ready solutions already exist. The Scope of current CE implementation considers selected products, materials and sectors, while systemic changes to the economy are rarely suggested. Finally, the CE monitoring methods and suggestions for future development are also discussed in this paper. The analysis of the theoretical approaches can serve as an introduction to CE concept, while the developed tools can be instrumental for designing new CE cases.

Unlocking circular business: A framework of barriers and drivers

Unlocking circular business: A framework of barriers and drivers

Author: 
Nina Tura, Jyri Hanski, Tuomas Ahola, Matias Stahle, Sini Piiparinen, Pasi Valkokari
Publication Date: 
03/2019
Country: 
Finland

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Scope:

Circular economy increasingly attracts the interest of business, policy makers and academia in the search for answers to sustainability challenges. While earlier studies have presented drivers that support the introduction of new business concepts for circular economy, as well as barriers that hinder the rate of innovation in the field, no systematic categorizations of such factors have been brought forward.

Drawing on current literature, a framework of drivers and barriers is introduced, including seven distinct areas: environmental, economic, social, political and institutional, technological and informational, supply chain, and organizational factors. The appearance and content of these areas in practice have been examined in four case organizations by conducting thirty-six qualitative, semi-structured interviews. Empirical illustrations of the potential barriers and drivers provide managerial implications for better execution of circular business.

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