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3/ Circular economy and the bioeconomy, spearheading the transition

The circular economy 

The Flanders-Dunkirk territory started thinking about industrial ecology and the circular economy very early on. And today it is demonstrating its expertise and boasts many examples of co-product and utilities recovery. These lasting partnerships are assets and opportunities for any company seeking solutions to decarbonise its business activities or processes. It’s also a source of competitiveness.

Here are just a few examples :

  • Ecocem recovers slag from ArcelorMittal.
  • Aquanord and Dunkerque LNG benefit from the hot water from the nuclear plant.
  • The urban heat network provides heating for more than 16,000 homes or public buildings using calories from local industries.
  • The DK6 combined cycle power plant recovers the blast furnace and coke oven gases. Ryssen Alcools works with the IndaChlor factory
    which delivers waste heat in the form of steam, meaning Ryssen can shut down all or part of its gas boilers.
  • The Dunkirk territory was the first to have its ownn Toile industrielle® or industrial decision-making tool (from AGUR urban planning and development agency).


The domain of water is no exception to the territory’s approach to industrial ecology, and water resources have been a major challenge for over 50 years.

An international pioneer, the territory has had its own specific so-called “industrial” (non-drinking) water network since the 1970s. Taken from canals, industrial water enables fourteen companies in the port and
industry fabric to use up 22 million m3 of non-drinking water.


Faced with the challenge of protecting global water resources yet always at the forefront of this matter, the territory’s stakeholders (industries, government services, GPMD and local authorities) have rallied together to anticipate the impacts of climate imbalance and the needs required for new facilities and industrial decarbonisation (particularly the production of hydrogen) :

  • By helping to optimise the consumption of each industrial customer, whether they are already established, in the process of setting up or planning to set up (portage by the GPMD, Dunkirk Water Syndicate and Euraénergie).
  • By encouraging a circular water economy involving the reuse of wastewater from each industrialist for a neighbouring industrial plant process (portage by the Dunkirk Water Syndicate and the GPMD).
  • By diversifying the sources of non-conventional water with short- and medium-term reuse of used water from urban wastewater treatment plants, while studying the use of seawater instead of canal water for certain functions (portage by the Greater Dunkirk Urban Council, GPMD and Euraénergie).

By undertaking these initiatives, the Dunkirk port and industrial territory wishes to become the benchmark and industrial-scale demonstrator for the proper use and innovative development of non-conventional water across Europe

 phare dunkerque


Bringing together biomass production and transformation activities, the bioeconomy is a complementary lever that limits greenhouse gas emissions. As a matter of fact, the carbon constituting biomass is “renewable” as it is emitted into the atmosphere, recaptured through photosynthesis and finally recovered in the production/growth of another

The Hauts-de-France region has made the bioeconomy one of its priorities and has a master development plan for it

bioéconomie lin

The territory has many benefits when it comes to developing the bioeconomy including infrastructures but also biomass resources that can be recovered :

250,000 tonnes of agricultural waste per year available for recovery within a 50 to 70km radius of Dunkirk

85,000 tonnes of biowaste and food co-products per year  from the territory’s industrialists and restaurants available for recovery


The flax scutching company La Linière wanted to make the most of its flax shives, a co-product from the mechanical extraction of the fibre, representing 50% of the material, which is currently poorly recycled. 800 m3 of shives per day were recovered and are now being used in the production of a bio-sourced insulation block with exceptional properties (heat and water regulator) called Bâtilin©. As it is manufactured using local resources, this product has an excellent carbon footprint and building professionals are showing a keen interest in it.

Plans have been made for a specific factory which aims to be up and running by 2025 and a short-term objective of producing the equivalent of more than one house per day has been set

atelier teillage de lin


Designed by D’Innov, “Mon gobelet en lin” (My flax tumbler) is made of a granulate, a mixture of 100% local flax fibres and a polymer derived from starch (polylactic acid). The granules are then placed into an injection moulding machine that gives the tumbler its final shape after the pressure and heating processes are complete


Developed by the Minafin group, EcoXtract is an innovative process for
extracting vegetable oil and proteins. This oil extraction process uses a biosourced product called methyloxolane, a substance which comes from recycled sugarcane pulp. It is a sustainable alternative to oil derivatives such as hexane, which is still predominately used as an extraction solvent in the food industry. EcoXtract® would provide the agri-food industry
with vegetable oils and proteins for safe and healthy human and animal food.


Specialising in the production of top-quality alcohol, Ryssen Alcools also makes bioethanol using its dehydration facilities, producing pure alcohol at 99.7% (European standard for the use of bioethanol as a biofuel – SP95 E10, E85). As the most widely used biofuel, bioethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 78% on average compared to fossil
petrol; the more ethanol blended into petrol, the greater the reduction in emissions.


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3/ Circular economy and the bioeconomy, spearheading the transition