Industrial processes create heat in the form of exhaust gases, cooling water, and hot equipment surfaces and products. Recovering this waste heat may allow it to be used to produce electricity, or to cool and heat a building or facility. Industrial symbiosis is the process of generating uses for industrial byproducts, including heat, water, and materials.
The Department of Commerce (Commerce) is the lead state agency to assist in establishing and improving markets for recyclable materials. Commerce provides a range of programs to assist businesses, such as education, technical assistance, and business grants and loans. In addition, Commerce implements the Clean Energy Fund program, which funds the development, demonstration, and deployment of clean energy technology.
In the 2019-21 Biennial Operating Budget, Commerce was directed to produce a proposal and recommendations for setting up an industrial waste coordination program by December 1, 2019. The report presents six key recommendations for a proposed Washington program:
An industrial waste coordination program is established to provide expertise, technical assistance, and best practices to support local industrial symbiosis projects. The program must be administered by the Department of Commerce (Commerce), and must be administered regionally, with Commerce providing each region with a dedicated facilitator, and technical and administrative support. The program must facilitate waste exchange by, among other things:
Commerce may coordinate with other agencies, representatives of business and manufacturing networks, and other entities in order to develop material flow generation data and increase multisectoral outreach.
In carrying out the program, Commerce may use only publicly available data or data voluntarily provided by program participants. No entity may be required to disclose material flow data. Commerce must keep any proprietary business information confidential and such information is exempt from public disclosure under the Public Records Act.
Subject to the availability of funds, a competitive industrial symbiosis grant program is established in order to provide grants for the research, development, and deployment of local waste coordination projects. Grants may go toward, among other things:
Commerce must develop a method and criteria for the allocation of grants, subject to the following:
(In support) Industrial symbiosis brings industry and environment together. It is applicable in communities both big and small, urban and rural. Other communities and countries are seeing tremendous benefits for the economy and the environment by using industrial symbiosis. This represents a great opportunity for communities of all shapes and sizes. There is great appetite for innovation.
This is a common-sense bill and a job creator. The bill passed the Legislature last year but was vetoed by the Governor only because of costs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is huge potential in Washington for biogas; there are currently about 50 operational systems, with the potential for 200 more. This bill would promote better environmental responsibility along with better economic growth. Being able to coordinate among industrial waste sites is absolutely critical in order to make sure the waste is productively used. Managing organic waste offers huge, multiple benefits.
(In support) This bill is a commonsense measure to improve reuse of waste products. It will create jobs and provide opportunities for local governments and industry to expand and improve activities they already do. Industrial symbiosis addresses both industrial and environmental issues. Many facilities, such as wastewater treatment plants, can provide valuable resources for other facilities if designed properly. The programs created in the bill would be highly scalable and applicable in many communities, both large and small, and urban and rural. There are many potential industrial symbiosis pilot projects located across the state that can benefit from this bill.