Lighthouse: Höganäs

Höganäs, Sweden

Main drivers to join the project

  • For Höganäs, to increase resource efficiency and lessens environmental impact and as a niche market leader, to obtain front-runner advantage

  • For the greenhouse, access to cheap waste heat and recycled CO2 dramatically improves the business case, reversing a competitive disadvantage in cool climates to significant advantage from proximity to markets

  • For the fish farm, recycling waste nutrients offers a path to permissibility. The global demand for fish is increasing, but production is limited by supply of wild fish and environmental concerns of open-loop fish farms.

  • To showcase profitable symbiosis to facilitate dissemination

Sectors involved

  • Metals

  • Farming

  • Energy


  • Industrial area promoter/coordinator: Höganäs AB

  • Number of companies: 6

  • Number of employees: 1000

  • Other stakeholders: Höganäs kommun (municipality)


  • Heat

  • CO2

  • Slags

Annual energy use


Overall concept of the demonstration activities to be implemented

The pilot will demonstrate the utilisation of CO2 and low-grade waste heat

The pilot will demonstrate the utilisation of CO2 and low-grade waste heat in the Höganäs symbiosis network.

CO2 capture from flue gas streams from the sponge iron factory will be utilised including integration with waste heat. Heat and part of the CO2 will be used in a nearby greenhouse, to be constructed during the project.

Adjacent to the greenhouse, a fish farm will be constructed, with facilities to recycle waste nutrients to the greenhouse and benefits as well from residual heat, which will be assessed during the project execution.

The pilot will also test the upgrade the CO2-source stream to the quality required by potential uses other than the greenhouse (algae cultivation, power to X technologies etc) with the objective of scaling-up the installed facilities and find new alternatives for the symbiotic use of captured CO2.

Finally, a valorisation analysis of slags coming from Höganäs will be also performed in order to support future IS initiatives in the industrial area.

The figure below shows the overall industrial case, including already implemented and potential identify synergies.


Energy efficiency


Energy intensity


CO2 emissions


Raw materials intensity
(food production)


Waste generation

Description of the demonstration readiness level towards Industrial Symbiosis (IS)

  • Legal dimension: Readiness to close deal. A business structure is in place, with the ‘special purpose vehicle’ Regenergy Kullabygden AB (RKAB) to house the infrastructure, attract investment and act as the legal interface for business arrangements between parties. Draft legal agreements have been produced, as well as a template for the investment memorandum, complete with full 20-year model of P&L, balance sheet and cash flow for three business entities: RKAB, the greenhouse operations and the fish farm operations.

  • Economic dimension: Readiness to invest. To provide competitive conditions for farming and attract long-term, sustainable capital, the necessary infrastructure has been separated into special purpose entity and engineered to deliver an ROI of around 6%. Leveraged with 70% loan financing, this level is deemed attractive to long term, sustainable capital, typically pensions funds. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has reviewed and approved the concept for funding of a portfolio of 10 projects.

  • Social dimension: Readiness to collaborate A guiding principle for the collaboration is that all parties have an economic incentive to collaborate, according to the three sectors of sustainability. A scorecard has been developed to show the project’s contribution to all three of these. A driving force behind the collaboration is the existence of a symbiosis agent – WA3RM AB. WA3RM makes a business of creating industrial symbiosis.

  • Technical and spatial dimensions: The conceptual model for heat recycling to greenhouses was developed by the Energy Division of the European Spallation Source ESS, from which WA3RM AB is a spinoff. The technical challenge is to improve the readiness level for the system as a unit.

The nature of the ‘regenerative’ industries, particularly the greenhouse, is that they require significant space. The preferred location is the closest available and is made up of two lots, owned by Höganäs AB and Höganäs municipality. However, the selected site is reserved for commercial activities.

To allow the project development, this must change to industrial activities. The process of changing the plan is regulated in Swedish Planning and Building Law. This process must precede the actual building permit.

Main challenges to be addressed and barriers to be overcome

The grand challenge to be addressed is the decarbonisation of Höganäs activities. Specifically, for recycling heat and CO2, the main challenges are:

  • Capture, separation and distribution of CO2, including balancing supply and need over time

  • Integration of recycling systems for heat and CO2 for resource efficiency

  • Business models for use of CO2

These innovations do not require new technology to be developed. Rather, it is a question of new applications of technology and of system optimization.

The need to use low-grade heat arises from the previous sale of all higher-grade heat to district heat. To achieve the required capacity, the heat recycling must be designed for a 50-55°C supply and 25°C return. This can be achieved by adding ventilation heat to the standard radiative heat, or by simply adding more area for radiative heat.

To use the CO2 from the sponge iron plant, harmful substances must be removed, notably NOx (harmful to plants) and CO (harmful to humans). Air and water vapor hinder pressurized storage for daily balancing; water vapor may condense in pipes causing blockage.

So, both must be removed. Two suppliers of separation technology have offered systems for separation, one based on absorption-desorption and one membrane-based. For the project, the main modification is the integration into the heat recycling system, to lessen costs and environmental impacts.

Equipment to be installed, modifications required and relevant activities for each stakeholder involved


Connection to heat, power and water for amine-based CO2 separation, Connection to heat, power and water for membrane-based CO2 separation, Development, evaluation and integration into Höganäs’ Climate Roadmap


IS facilitator Project management engineering design, integration and permitting, Resource databasing, matching algorithms and web interfaces;


Development, evaluation, integration, assessment of impacts related to the project, symbiosis development, replication, development of net zero emission iron/steel industry


Assistance to the evaluation of environmental-, business-, and socio-economic impacts of the pilot, including: their impacts within individual contexts; strengths and weaknesses across different contexts; and good practices to be replicated.

Other stakeholders

  • Regenergy Kullabygden A

  • WA3RM LTP, infrastructure SPV (WA3RM subsidiary): installation of the CO2 Amine separation and the heat recycling system

Targets of the overall IS demonstrator

The overall goal is to demonstrate sustainable paths to zero carbon and beyond for the steel industry. The pilot will exhibit how using waste heat and CO2 is a step change in circularity for industry and can provide important quick gains in carbon reductions.

For the food production, using the symbiotic system completely eliminates the main sources of emissions.

When combined with use of renewable energy and renewable or recycled raw materials, symbiotic food production provides a path for industry to go beyond zero to becoming a net carbon sink