How waste becomes value
The new ecology of surplus heat exchange in Norwegian industry
Johansen, Jens Petter
This chapter explores how industrial waste products achieve value, by investigating innovation processes with the objective of utilizing surplus heat. The potential for reducing primary energy consumption by utilizing surplus heat from industry processes is significant. Essential to this is the need to frame surplus heat as a commodity and assign it a value. Drawing on studies of 14 surplus heat exchanges in Norway, we show how such valuation processes vary across localities. We find three different modes of valuating surplus heat, as either a market commodity, a common good, or a gift between a company and the community. The chapter discusses the benefits and challenges connected to these ways of valuating and organizing the exchange of by-products, and provides recommendations for how government actors and firms can facilitate them from the bottom up. We discuss the possibilities of integrating insights on valuation processes into innovation perspectives on circular economy.