International Industrial Ecology Day 2021

Water Circular Economy at the Kwinana Industrial Area, Western Australia The Dimensions and Value of Industrial Symbiosis


The major industrial companies located in the Kwinana Industrial Area (KIA) produce many industrial, agricultural, and mining chemicals and refined materials, for national and international markets. With over 150 documented product and by-product exchanges, Kwinana is one of the best examples of Industrial Symbiosis (IS) in the world. A new model of IS comprised of four dimensions is under development, whereby whilst each dimension is unique, collectively they interact to characterise an industrial estate, thus contributing to the evolutionary understanding of IS. Apart from the traditional product and by-product dimension of IS, three additional dimensions seem to be playing a crucial role in the KIA, these being the skilled workforce; support industry; and governance dimensions. We provide additional context for the water-related examples of the Circular Economy at Kwinana by exploring a new four-dimensional model for IS. We investigate the basis for this model through an analysis of two Water Circular Economy examples as they relate to Western Australia’s premier industrial area, the KIA. Case studies will consider a managed aquifer recharge (MAR) project that failed; and the process-water interconnectedness of enterprises operating successfully as a sub-ecology within the industrial cluster during the COVID-19 Pandemic crisis in 2020. In the case studies it is demonstrated that if one or more of the dimensions is deficient or is dysfunctional, the opportunity for a well-functioning Circular Economy is diminished. We conclude that achieving a circular economy in a complex industrial cluster, such as Kwinana, is made a great deal easier when the four synergy dimensions are strong, visible, supportive, and energetically embraced by all.


Name Affiliation
Biji Kurup Environmental Engineers International Pty Ltd
Chris Oughton Kwinana Industries Council
Martin Anda Murdoch University
Goen Ho Murdoch University

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