“Hubs4Circularity will be key to accelerate the green transition and advance the deployment of circular ecosystems”, said Dominique Planchon, European Commission, DG Research & Innovation.  

The Hubs4Circularity (H4C) Community of Practice, a network of public and private stakeholders from industries, regions, and cities, is being set up under Horizon Europe to facilitate building and scaling up and replicating ecosystems of industrial and industrial-urban symbiosis, and circular economy. A digital knowledge platform will be launched curating knowledge, tools, models, and solutions, making them accessible to the community. Expert groups and advisory panels will be created to analyse challenges and solutions, exchange best practices, provide policy recommendations, and develop metrics to assess the maturity of regional initiatives in collaboration with H4C demonstration sites. 

Why Hubs4Circularity?

Industrial symbiosis is based on the principle that one industry’s by-products and waste streams (for instance, valuable materials or unused heat) can be used by other industries to save resources and reduce their carbon footprint. Industrial-urban symbiosis extends this interaction to include urban areas and regional industries, such as district heating through industrial waste heat, aggregation of waste resources through municipal systems and innovative solutions to valorise them. 

Hubs4Circularity implement these concepts on a regional scale and extend them to the usage of waste as raw materials for industrial production. They bring together industry, public and private stakeholders, and regional actors to find and implement economically viable and sustainable solutions for re-using streams of energy and materials. The goal is to keep resources in productive use for longer, reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources and reduce CO2 emissions. This paves the way towards the transition of industries, cities and regions to become more sustainable, optimising investments while securing employment and reducing dependencies. 

To achieve Europe’s climate goals stipulated under the Green Deal, it is key that existing technological solutions for industrial symbiosis, industrial-urban symbiosis and circularity are implemented, scaled up to commercial size and rolled out widely throughout Europe.

Hubs4Circularity Community of Practice: toward a successful, European-wide implementation

The Hubs4Circularity Community of Practice will support the collaboration among various industries and society to jointly progress towards circular and sustainable industrial production. The network will be supported by a digital knowledge platform that will provide access to project results, technological solutions and best practices, and will support the process of constant learning from successful examples of existing and developing Hubs4Circularity. 

Two consortia with complementary strengths and expertise, H4C Europe and H4C ECoP, have been selected by the European Commission to collaborate toward a common goal: to drive the Community of Practice over the next four years. The two consortia H4C Europe and H4C ECoP are collaborating with the H4C demonstration projects to develop a set of key performance indicators for Hubs4Circularity; they will define business models and promote funding and finance opportunities to boost industrial and industrial-urban symbiosis, and circularity. Together with actors from industries, regions and cities, they will identify further research and development gaps.

The two consortia driving the Hubs4Circularity Community of Practice

  • The H4C ECoP consortium focuses on regions and cities, industry, facilitators and technology solution providers as the key stakeholders to advancing industrial and industrial-urban symbiosis. The consortium consists of seven European partner organisations. It comprises technical consultancy companies (ISQ, International Synergies Limited and Technopolis Group, the start-up incubator Strane Innovation, the international networks Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management (ACR+), ICLEI -  Local Governments for Sustainability and EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate change.
  • The H4C Europe consortium is targeting all H4C stakeholders with special focus on the process industries and regional facilitators as core agent in the H4C value chains. The consortium consists of twelve European partner organisations. Amongst them are the industry partners Covestro, and SINTEF/Shas, as well as service providers with complementary expertise related to the multiple facets of H4C, including Ciaotech and EGEN (both part of the PNO Group), ZEDO, CIRCE, DECHEMA, Innovation Engineering, VITO, TNO, Water Europe, EIT Raw Materials and the Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management (ACR+). VITO is leading the task on identification of best practices and innovative solutions for the utilization of end-of-life products as resources. 
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