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Industrial symbiosis
Photo: Biokraft

Modelling industrial symbiosis of biogas production and industrial WWT

The project aims to model an industrial symbiosis between production of biogas and nutrient deficient industrial wastewater treatment plants. The circular economy benefits are large as it combines reduction in energy consumption and operation costs of the wastewater treatment with biogas production and recirculation of nutrients released in the anaerobic digestion back to the wastewater treatment and to arable land.

The present-day treatment of pulp and paper mill effluents can be significantly improved by incorporating biogas production in the context of industrial symbiosis. In this work a new industrial symbiosis concept is presented, the focus being on modelling it in view of process optimization, design improvement and adoption by the pulp and paper industry.

The concept consists of a first stage in which pulp and paper mills effluents are treated by high-rate anaerobic digestion in external circulation sludge bed (ECSB) reactors to produce biogas. In the second stage the removal of organic matter contained in the digestate stream occurs through aerobic activated sludge treatment, aiming to achieve maximum sludge production with minimum aeration requirements. This sludge should in the case study then be co-digested with fish-waste silage to yield methane for energy production, nutrients-rich reject water that can be recycled to the activated sludge treatment for optimum microbial activities and, production of nutrient rich soil amendment.

The overall research aim is to develop a mathematical model that describes the relevant process units and the dynamics of the different processes involving organic matter removal, biogas production and nutrients release.

Image copyright: Biokraft


Kazadi Mbamba C., Arnell M., Svedin C., Ejlertsson J., Jeppsson U. and Karlsson A. (2019). Modelling Industrial Symbiosis of Biogas Production and Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plants – A Review. RISE Report 2019:48, Linköping, Sweden. [Download from DiVA]

Kazadi Mbamba C., Arnell M., Bergvatten A., Ejlertsson J., Jeppsson U., Ometto F. and Karlsson A. (2020). Modelling Industrial Symbiosis of Biogas Production and Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plants – Technical Report. Report 2020:53, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Linköping, Sweden. [Download from DiVA]


Project name




RISE role in project

Projektpartner och forskare

Project start


2,5 år

Total budget

4 300 000 SEK


Scandinavian Biogas Fuels


VINNOVA, Scandinavian Biogas Fuels


Project members

Supports the UN sustainability goals

7. Affordable and clean energy
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
12. Responsible consumption and production
Magnus Arnell

Contact person

Magnus Arnell


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