Circular Economy

Differences between Batch Model and Continuous Model

Learn about the strengths and features of the Batch Model and the Continuous Model in Industrial Symbiosis, their definitions and differencies

Simone Tabellini per Sfridoo

Simone Tabellini

Green Marketer

Nella foto sono rappresentati Mario Lazzaroni, co-fondatore di Sfridoo, insieme a un partner all'interno di uno stabilimento di produzione

How to establish Industrial Symbiosis partnerships

For proper application of Circular Economy principles and schemes, within corporate production processes, it is necessary to know how Industrial Symbiosis (IS) partnerships and networks are generated.

At the same time, it is crucial to recognize the differences and peculiarities of the operating models employed, particularly the Batch Model and the Continuous Model.

In most cases, such symbiotic partnerships are generated through integration and collaboration between different industries. The common goal is to maximize the efficiency of resources, such as materials, water, and energy, and consequently reduce the waste generated.

Do you want to reap the benefits of the circular economy?

With Sfridoo® , you reap the benefits of the Circular Economy, reaping economic, fiscal and environmental benefits by collaborating with other companies in the network.


A paradigm shift

Industrial Symbiosis represents a paradigm shift from a concept of a competitive relationship between firms to a dynamic of collaboration and creation of widespread advantage (win-win relationship).

Having made this premise, it is necessary to make a distinction between the possible IS linkages that can be realized between companies.

At a general level we make two broad distinctions:

  • based on the operating model;
  • according to the mode of development.

In this article we will look at the different modes of operation. If you are interestedə in an in-depth analysis of the modes of development in this area, we recommend reading the complete guide on Industrial Symbiosis that we have prepared.

Let us now look at the two main modes of operation, which are, as mentioned, the Batch Model and the Continuous Model.

Batch Model definition

The Batch Model, applied to Industrial Symbiosis Networks, represents a dynamic and adaptable approach that is essential for responding to specific business needs and seizing temporary opportunities related to resource enhancement.

This Model is distinguished by its ability to adapt quickly to change, making it particularly effective in contexts where collaboration and innovation must proceed at a rapid pace.

How to create a symbiosis Batch Model

The Batch Model takes shape in territories of various sizes, involving different realities that, over time, have developed relationships aimed at closing and optimizing production cycles.

This model is based on bottom-up logic, that is, it emerges from a network of businesses that come together not by virtue of centralized planning, but through specific agreements between two or more actors.

The links established within it are aimed at achieving beneficial exchanges of matter, energy or services, creating a more sustainable and interconnected production system.

Continuous Model definition

The Continuous Model, the second type of development, is central to Industrial Symbiosis and includes two important realities: Industrial Symbiosis Districts and Eco-Industrial Parks.

In this model, interactions and collaborations are not episodic but become an integral and constant part of the productive fabric of the district or park.

This creates an ecosystem in which companies operate synergistically, with the common goal of maximizing efficiency and reducing environmental impact.

How to create a symbiosis Continuous Model

Continuous Industrial Symbiosis models are distinguished by their thorough planning and management, generally adopting a “top-down” approach.

These models are designed to be in perfect harmony with the principles of industrial ecology and Industrial Symbiosis, aiming to create both a positive economic and environmental impact.

At the European level, a virtuous example of the Continuous Model is the Kalundburg eco-park in Denmark (dedicated article coming soon).

Differences between Batch and Continuous Models

Having understood the nature and process of generating Batch and Continuous models, let us now examine in detail their main differences.

We focus here on analyzing several key aspects, including:

  • scope;
  • nature of partnerships;
  • approach to development;
  • stability and structure;
  • resources management.

Scope of application

The Continuous Model is mainly developed within Industrial Symbiosis Districts and Eco-Industrial Parks. These facilities are generally planned and designed to integrate industrial symbiosis from their conception.

Instead, the Batch Model finds its main application within networks for Industrial Symbiosis.

These networks are often made up of companies that come together on an ad hoc basis to address specific needs or opportunities.

Nature of partnerships

In continuous Industrial Symbiosis models, collaborations are long-term and constantly integrated into the production fabric of the district or park. In these scenarios, there is a strong interdependence among the participating companies.

In contrast, in Batch models, the nature of collaborations is characterized by greater dynamism and flexibility. These relationships are typically oriented to specific projects or needs, and and and allow for less interdependence and greater adaptability.

Approach to development

Within continuous models, a “top-down” approach predominates, whereby planning and management are driven by entities or institutions, with a long-term strategic vision.

In contrast, in Batch models are characterized by a “bottom-up” approach, where the network is formed by the will and direct initiative of the companies involved. This mode favors a more responsive and flexible structure.

Stability and structure

The Continuous Model tends to be more stable and structured, with well-defined, long-lasting relationships and processes.

The Batch Model, on the other hand, offers more flexibility and adaptability, with structures and relationships that can evolve rapidly in response to market changes or emerging opportunities.

Resources management

In the Continuous Model, resource optimization and management are built into the very design of the district or park, aiming for long-term, sustainable efficiency.

In the Batch Model, on the other hand, resource optimization is more project-oriented and can vary widely depending on circumstances and specific agreements.

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Do you want to valorise your company waste and production residues?

With Sfridoo® , reap the benefits of the Circular Economy, reaping economic, fiscal and environmental benefits by collaborating with other companies in the networka

Simone Tabellini per Sfridoo

Simone Tabellini

Green Marketer

One of the challenges of the Circular Economy sector, is to be able to clearly and effectively communicate the benefits that this economic model can give companies. By investing in it, we can increase awareness and knowledge in people.