The aim of the PhD research is to examine the effectiveness of drawing common elements of regional synergy development into an overall framework, generally used for the implementation of cleaner production, to assist industries in heavy industrial areas with the further development of regional synergy opportunities. The literature review revealed an absence of practical methodologies to support industry with the development of promising synergy opportunities. An assessment of existing synergies in the case-study region (the Kwinana Industrial Area) has confirmed the close collaboration and integration which already exists in the region. These existing synergies provide a range of sustainability benefits. The research resulted in customised methodologies to assist in the advancement of regional synergies, focussed on the priority themes of: inorganic by-products, water, and energy. The trial application of the methodologies demonstrated their effectiveness in delivering valuable outcomes for the stakeholders involved (e.g. feasible synergy opportunities for industry uptake). Overall, the cleaner production framework is not a driver for synergy development perse, but rather should be regarded as a flexible framework to advance synergy development – targeted towards specific local research needs. Strengths of the novel methodologies include added-value to stakeholders, stakeholder participation, transparency and flexibility. The principal weakness concerned the time investment to apply the methodologies. However, it is anticipated that the trialled methodologies could be performed in other regions in a significantly shorter time period (by learning from the experiences here). A set of parameters must be understood before applying the customised methodologies in industrial regions elsewhere in the world. These include: distances between industries, number and diversity of industries, industry interest, industry champions, presence and functioning of an industry organisation, relevant regulations, community support, availability of know-how and expertise, funding, and corporate culture.
Dick Van Beers
Curtin University of Technology
A-Prof Ben Mullins, A-Prof Chris Lund, Dr. Karin Schianetz