Graduated of Sciences -Po Paris, Emilie Gravier has more than 10 years of experience in the transport area. She dealt with projects like tramway, subway and high-speed line in North Africa, at the French Ministry of Economy and Finances, as support for export and transport equipment.
She was the responsible of Ports Strategies and partnerships within the Strasbourg Territorial Directorate of the French Inland Waterways Authority (VNF). Since January 2015, she has been at the head of Port Development and Promotion Department in the Port of Strasbourg, which has under its responsibility the port external communication and prospective studies and partnerships.
Environmental and energy performance of industries is now a fundamental competitiveness issue. Moreover, optimizing “material” and “energy” resources consumption at an industrial area scale, increases its resilience (ie : its ability to resist) facing resource scarcity and market instability and helps anticipating the needs of tomorrow. Last but not least, this project provides a significant ecological footprint reduction of the industrial activities.
Based on these facts, the Port of Strasbourg and the Eurometropole of Strasbourg decided in 2013 to choose the port area as a good place to experiment industrial ecology concepts.
Along 10 km of the Rhine, the port of Strasbourg regroups 320 companies and over 10 000 employees, making this area the biggest industrial area of Alsace. Due to its size and its major economic role for the city, the port area of Strasbourg has been identified as ideal to conduct an energy and material flow improvement program, that is to say the industrial ecology project.
As a first step, a potentiality study was launched, which consisted (Phase 1 2013-2014) in a diagnosis flow of fifteen companies in order to build a technical and economic action plan. The latter offers today opportunities to the companies involved in the reduction of their costs and their environmental impact.
Concretely, the synergies identified at this step were joint purchasing of electricity and natural gas and the re-use of material flows (paper, cardboard, wood waste, etc.) and waste energy (steam). More than 1000 tons of paper and cardboard waste from the port are now provided to a paper mill in the same area. Companies who subscribed to the joint electricity offer saved 120,000 euros.
Beyond the diagnosis and the action plan, this first phase intended to lay the foundations for a dynamic cooperation. The setting up of a trusting relationship between stakeholders arose from sustained and continuous support and guidance.
This first step led to a second phase (2014-2015) aiming to prioritized actions (infrastructures, services, etc.), to ensure the technical and economic arrangements of those and to involve another group of industries of the port area into the project. Furthermore, it was decided to undertake the development of an energy strategy for the area based on the use of renewable resources and waste heat.
Phase 2 has completed all four objectives : the integration of 10 new firms, the identification of new potentials of synergies and the selection of priority tracks, the implementation of the first two synergies identified in phase 1 and the proposal of energy scenarios for the Port of Strasbourg area.
Considering the economic potential of the synergies identified in phase 1 and 2 and the strong involvement of the companies in the project, some of which are beginning to concretely perceive their interest, all the project partners (companies, Port of Strasbourg, Eurometropole of Strasbourg, Alsace Region, ADEME (Environmental and Energy public agency), GUP (association of the port users) decided to pursue the project with a third phase.
The objective of this new stage, which started in September 2015, is to involve the companies into financing the project and therefore integrate them into the governance, while working on the implementation of the synergies defined as a priority at the end of phase 2 (pallet repair, consumable / outsourced service purchase, pooling of washing equipment and vehicle maintenance, recycling of organic waste, combustion of wood waste, upgrading of ash, gravel, sands, condensates and bituminous by-products). To ensure long-term sustainability, a prefiguration study on a supporting structure based on the model of the best’s French territories such as the Urban Community of Dunkirk will have to be conducted.
At the same time, extensive studies on innovative energy solutions will be conducted to the benefit of the industrials of the port area, including :
- Optimization and cost control related to energy and materials ;
- Reducing energy needs ;
- Securing energy flows ;
- Independence against fossil fuels.
In addition, an environmental impact reduction assessment of all synergies in progress will be conducted. The objective is to quantify greenhouse gas reduction thanks to the synergies implemented by the companies, defined by the industrial ecology project. Hopefully, these results will help other areas of activity to follow our example.
These initiatives demonstrate the Port of Strasbourg commitment to increase its attractiveness and sobriety in compliance with its social responsibility. For the Port of Strasbourg, the industrial ecology approach will help to meet climate and environmental challenges while strengthening economic activity and the important role of the firms in the port area.