277876 Semantic Web Platform to Support and Automate the Process of Industrial Symbiosis

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Franjo Cecelja, Process and Information Systems Engineering Research Centre, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom

Semantic Web Platform to Support and Automate the Process of Industrial Symbiosis

Franjo Cecelja, Antonis Kokossis, Tara Raafat, Nikolaos Trokanas, Aidong Yang

PRISE, FEPS, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7UB, U.K.,



Industrial Symbiosis is an innovative approach that brings together companies from different business sectors to process waste into energy and/or material with a view to generate revenue and allow sustainable management of industrial waste and by-products, as well as municipal waste [1]. Creating a synergy between these companies to form economically, environmentally and socially viable supply chains is a challenge that requires in-depth knowledge on waste and respective processing technologies [2]. Currently, the whole process of Industrial Symbiosis is practiced manually with performance which intuitively depends on practitioner’s ability and hence is increasingly difficult to apply in rapidly elevating industrial diversity.

This paper introduces novel approach and respective design of a semantic web platform that fully automates selection of the Industrial Symbiosis synergies. The platform is based on the semantic formalisms for the waste and processing technology classifications which is further supported by the semantic web services technology in the process of establishing synergies.

Waste and technology classification is formalised through knowledge modelling for which we have selected ontologies that are proven to be flexible to implement, share and reuse, especially on the web. Ontologies are primarily used for knowledge representation in the form of a group of terms organised in a hierarchical structure, taxonomy or subsumption, and enhanced with properties/attributes and restrictions on these properties . We have developed ontologies which represent the knowledge in the domains of waste and respective processing technologies. As such, it is used to i) coordinate the whole process of collecting information from users (registration), and ii) formalising user’s description for automated discovery, matching and validating relevance of symbiotic options.  User descriptions are also in the form of ontology, service description ontology, hence enabling to establish semantic relevance between waste producers and technology providers by inferring and ontology matching. Final ranking of discovered synergies accounts for economic and environmental factors. Ontological formalism used for service description is based on universally recognized OWL-S framework. In addition, the developed waste and technology ontology is implemented  in Ontology Web Language (OWL) which  facilitates  sharing and reasoning that can also automatically generate new knowledge.

The platform has currently been tested using general datasets available upon various waste producing industries and processing technology providers extracted from representative process industries. The models have also been validated against the same datasets and as part of the web platform.

Key words: Ontology, Semantic Web Services, Industrial Symbiosis


1.             Chertow, M., Industrial Symbiosis. Encyclopedia of Energy, 2004: p. 407-415.

2.             Lehtoranta, S., et al., Industrial symbiosis and the policy instruments of sustainable consumption and production. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2011. 19: p. 1865e1875.

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