Published in collaboration with NCMS
Digital Manufacturing Report

News & information about the fast-moving world
of digital manufacturing, modeling & simulation

Language Flags

Reshoring Into American Eco-Industrial Clusters


As the reshoring trend is gaining strength, it is important to evaluate innovative, alternative solutions to the past industrial models. Otherwise, it might be difficult to ensure that the return of manufacturing in the US will be resilient in response to any future attempts of delocalization in serving the domestic market.

There are a few main options to choose from as the decision to reshore is being made. Companies can restart existing plants with no upgrades, partial upgrades or complete overhauls. Alternatively, they can acquire new plants either by building them of buying them.

The reshoring location will thus be at the core of the decision process. I, among many others, would prefer to see a new economy being built after the great recession, based on sustainability criteria. How can the decision on reshoring location be linked to sustainability? Through the eco-industrial cluster or park.

According to OECD’s definition, an eco-industrial park is “a cluster of companies that cooperate closely with each other and with the local community to share resources, to improve economic performance and minimize waste and pollution. The collective benefit is considered greater than the sum of the benefits companies would realize when optimizing only their individual performance”.

Eco-industrial parks are the latest and most systemic form in the evolution of sustainable manufacturing concepts and practices:



What is the difference between eco-industrial clusters and traditional industrial or technology clusters? The following are some of the characteristics of the eco-industrial clusters which make them more attractive to reshoring for the long-term:

  • Diversity of industries, providing a hedging strategy against the negative impact of the business cycle in a homogenous industrial cluster where companies are in-sync
  • Highly collaborative rather than competitive, between all entities involved, private and public 
  • Provide risk mitigation against material, energy, transportation price volatility and increase
  • Induce innovation in product design, production processes and services through the pro-active search of finding usage for all the waste or by-product streams available 
  • Create positive economic externalities through stable employment, regional sustainable development, elimination or reduction of land used for landfills, reduced regional ecological footprint with associated lower health and other social costs
  • Open to continuous expansion thought the availability of waste or by-product streams to new users

The global benchmark and the oldest eco-industrial park in continuous existence and expansion since 1961 is the Kalundborg Symbiosis in Denmark (pictured below with its 2011 structure)


Based on the experience at Kalundborg, there are five criteria for a successful industrial symbiosis. First, all projects must be economically feasible. The included members must then fit together, although can be different. Similarly, the ideological and geographical distances between members must be small. Then, members must focus on large, continuous waste streams.

In the US, the By-Product Synergy (BPS) network managed by the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) has been expanding since 1997. Their stated goals are:

  • Reduced resource use – energy, water, petroleum, natural resources
  • Reduced carbon emissions resulting from the reuse of existing materials rather than use of new materials with a carbon generating extraction/production stream
  • Reduced waste to landfill and reduced processing and disposal costs of hazardous materials
  • Innovations in manufacturing discovered and developed for efficiency and productivity
  • Opportunities to address regulation issues and reduce barriers to materials exchange processes

US BCSD is planning to have 20 US cities with ongoing by-product synergy programs by 2015. These cities could make a good reshoring location for anchoring the future eco-industrial clusters.

RSS Feeds

Subscribe to All Content


Feature Articles

Titan Puts a New Spin on GE’s Wind Turbine Research

Unlike traditional energy sources, wind is a trouble to tame, which has led GE to turn to advanced simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to put the technology on track to cover 12 percent of the world's energy production.
Read more...

Lighting a Fire Under Combustion Simulation

Combustion simulation might seem like the ultimate in esoteric technologies, but auto companies, aircraft firms and fuel designers need increasingly sophisticated software to serve the needs of 21st century engine designs. HPCwire recently got the opportunity to take a look at Reaction Design, one of the premier makers of combustion simulation software, and talk with its CEO, Bernie Rosenthal.
Read more...

D-Wave Sells First Quantum Computer

On Wednesday, D-Wave Systems made history by announcing the sale of the world's first commercial quantum computer. The buyer was Lockheed Martin Corporation, who will use the machine to help solve some of their "most challenging computation problems." D-Wave co-founder and CTO Geordie Rose talks about the new system and the underlying technology.
Read more...

Short Takes

Local Motors and ORNL Partner for Automotive Manufacturing

Jan 24, 2014 | Local Motors, a vehicle innovator, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced a new partnership that they hope will bring change to the automotive industry.
Read more...

Advanced Modeling Benefits Wind Farms

May 25, 2011 | Advanced computing resources optimize the site selection of wind farms.
Read more...

Not Your Parents' CFD

Oct 13, 2010 | Outdated beliefs stand in the way of greater CFD adoption.
Read more...

Manufacturers Turn to HPC to Cut Testing Costs

Oct 06, 2010 | Supercomputing saves money by reducing the need for physical testing.
Read more...

HPC Technology Makes Car Safety Job 1

Aug 05, 2010 | Automakers turn to computer simulations to design safer vehicles.
Read more...

Sponsored Whitepapers

Technical Computing for a New Era

07/30/2013 | IBM | This white paper examines various means of adapting technical computing tools to accelerate product and services innovation across a range of commercial industries such as manufacturing, financial services, energy, healthcare, entertainment and retail. No longer is technically advanced computing limited to the confines of big government labs and academic centers. Today it is available to a wide range of organizations seeking a competitive edge.

The UberCloud HPC Experiment: Compendium of Case Studies

06/25/2013 | Intel | The UberCloud HPC Experiment has achieved the volunteer participation of 500 organizations and individuals from 48 countries with the aim of exploring the end-to-end process employed by digital manufacturing engineers to access and use remote computing resources in HPC centers and in the cloud. This Compendium of 25 case studies is an invaluable resource for engineers, managers and executives who believe in the strategic importance of applying advanced technologies to help drive their organization’s productivity to perceptible new levels.

Conferences and Events

Featured Events



Copyright © 2011-2014 Tabor Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Digital Manufacturing Report is a registered trademark of Tabor Communications, Inc. Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Tabor Communications Inc. is prohibited.
Powered by Xtenit.