Integration of industrial symbiosis in Wuhan’s strategic Urban Development plan

Partners: Wuhan university of science and technology (WUST), Foreign and Commonwealth office (FCO) and International Synergies.


International Synergies are part of the “Driving the low carbon transition through cross-industry waste utilization in infrastructure delivery in Wuhan, Hubei” project which supported the Foreign and Commonwealth office.

A need for the project arose from the sustainability issues attached to Wuhan’s “Strategic Plan for Integrated Urban Development”, as it includes mega infrastructure projects. Industrial symbiosis was highlighted as a solution to these issues. If integrated into infrastructure investments, there will be a reduction in both carbon emissions and the demand on virgin resources while reducing cost.

The project focused on policy engagement with Wuhan Development Reform Commission to elevate the discussion to a strategic level through the government planning process. The project’s main aim was to develop a roadmap to deliver a minimum of 200,000 tonnes of landfill diversion with associated 20,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of CO2 emissions avoided.  This outcome provided substantially greater and longer term carbon reduction than a one-off purchase of carbon credits in the market.

International Synergies worked with Wuhan DRC and Wuhan University of Science and Technology (WUST), to produce the following outputs:

  • A set of policy recommendations to Wuhan DRC that incentivise better circular economy practice and a lower carbon foot-print in Wuhan’s construction industry.
  • A prioritised map of the potential to reduce carbon (and cost) while delivering the infrastructure identified in the Wuhan 2017 plan (metros, airports, roads, and buildings)
  • An analysis of where existing policy enables or creates barriers to this low-carbon delivery through industrial symbiosis (for example, current policy precludes the substitution of used solvents as fuel in the cement industry, yet this replaces virgin fossil fuel use)