TNO develops a Circular Economy approach for Chinese port authority

Minister Kamp present at signing of Dayawan collaboration project • 08 Jun 2017

How can you enable industrial growth in a rapidly developing Chinese port and encourage the input of one industry to make use of the residual streams of another? Together with the Guangdong Association for Circular Economy, TNO is beginning a project to realise this for the port of Dayawan, a widespread port area with a heavy petrochemical industry. The partnership agreement was signed in China today in the presence of Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, by Paul van Ruiten, Director of Environment and Sustainability for TNO, and Mrs. Sihui Zeng on behalf of Mr. Li Zhou, Director of the Guangdong Association of Circular Economy and Resources Comprehensive Utilisation.


The initial phase of this intended long-term collaboration lasts for a year and comprises two parts: a model for the interaction and possible symbiosis between the industrial production, resource efficiency and minimisation of emissions. In addition, a decision support dashboard will be developed to provide insight into the effects of new chemical processes. Using models TNO interprets the streams of natural resources and enriches the results with knowledge of the most recent innovations. It is expected that Dutch universities with experience in this field, such as Delft University of Technology, will also contribute to this project.

Measuring the impact of the circular economy

The goal of the project is to contribute to economic growth by making more effective use of natural resources. TNO uses the knowledge developed in Europe to make the many aspects of a circular economy transparent. The experts will be collecting data that will provide insight into the interaction between the various processes in this petrochemical cluster. The data and models of TNO in the field of natural resource streams, (by)products, waste streams and the local economy will help the Dayawan port authority to take key decisions on developments in the port area and in the municipality of Huizhou. Moreover, the authorities will gain insight into the impact these will have on the environment and the existing infrastructure, such as the relationship between industrial production, the by-products, energy streams and emissions.

Comprehensively tackling the challenges of urban growth

Paul van Ruiten, TNO Director Environment & Sustainability: “An example of the activities and their impact is the interrelationship between industry, transport and air quality. Immediate use of by-products locally instead of transporting them is efficient for both business and the environment. The knowledge that TNO will use and develop in China can then be applied in Dutch port zones and urban environments. In the field of cities and the environment, China is the perfect country in which to be active. In the coming years Chinese cities will be the fastest growing in the world. The Chinese authorities are very conscious of this and realise that in order to ensure that this growth is controlled, a number of major challenges relating to liveability, safety, economy and accessibility have to be tackled comprehensively.“

Huizhou Petrochemical Cluster

The Huizhou petrochemical cluster in Dayawan has had a focus on the efficient use of natural resources since its establishment in 2011, employing the principles of reuse, reduce and recycle to work on the transition to a circular economy. The refinery generates 12 million tonnes of different oil products per year and has an ethylene production of 950 thousand tonnes. The midstream and downstream processes in the area use this production as input. The cluster is built around two large companies, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and CSPC, a joint venture between CNOOC and Shell Petrochemical Company Limited, and a large number of petrochemical projects along with 25 utility projects. With the help of a specific investment programme, Guangdong province wants to enable the capacity to grow substantially and thus strengthen the regional economy and create employment.


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