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Economic and Environmental Impacts from Industrial Symbiosis Exchanges: Guayama, Puerto Rico

Marian Chertow ()
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Marian Chertow: Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Newhaven, CT, USA

Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics

Abstract: Industrial symbiosis (IS) engages traditionally separate industries in a collective approach to competitive advantage involving the physical exchange of material, energy, water, and/or by-products. Although IS has been advocated as a business-friendly approach to environmental problems, there are few analyses of the financial and other business-related consequences for the individual participants in the exchanges. In this article, the nascent system of IS exchanges in Guayama, Puerto Rico, is explored from the environmental, business, and regulatory perspectives of the individual participants and the community. A coal-fired power plant built, owned, and operated by the AES Corporation is critical from the resource flow perspective with regard to uptake of water and sale of energy products. The article presents estimates of the economic and environmental costs and benefits for the symbiosis participants, concluding that there are substantial business reasons to engage in symbiosis, although the benefits fall unevenly on participating firms.

Date: 2004-03
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