Home About Browse Search

Batsukh, Urankhaich, 2022. Exploring the role of business intermediaries to advance circular bioeconomy : multi case study on plant-essential nutrient recycling firms and users in Sweden. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Economics



Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are key biological nutrients for global crop production and are directly linked to global food security. Despite the enormous agricultural expansion in the past century, excessive use of these elements is causing biochemical imbalances that lead to overstepping the ‘planetary boundaries’ beyond what the earth can hold. Recycling plant-essential nutrients from wastewater for agricultural purposes is therefore becoming essential to enable the nutrient cycle not only for reducing the impact on the ecosystem but also for enhancing the food security. This study investigates the role of business intermediaries in advancing circular bioeconomy. The empirical context is the implementation of nutrient recycling from wastewater for agricultural applications in Sweden. Since there are many firms specialized, a multi-case study approach was conducted on four business initiatives and three public sectors. Data was collected on the operational context of these firms. The results obtained from the comparative analysis show: (i) there is a diversity in wastewater-as-resource business models where there are mobilizing technology to produce fertilizer and ensuring wastewater-derived fertilizer for agricultural application. (ii) In the context of a circular bioeconomy, business intermediaries work in-between wastewater utilities and agricultural applications. (iii) Three dimensions of expectations were identified: technological availability, resource efficiency, and safe and secure value chain. This study concludes that business intermediaries play three roles in advancing a circular bioeconomy: First, developing technology that enables the recycling of nutrients in wastewater that can be applied in agriculture. Second, business intermediaries develop business models that make nutrient recycling commercially viable and legit. Third, business intermediaries also work to inform actors in the user contexts (wastewater and food sector) about nutrient recycling. Business intermediaries such as those specialized in recycling nutrients from wastewater are important since circular bioeconomy is about converting waste flows into valuable resources. The entrepreneurial process of networking and partnering activities enables market exploration for their technology/product, which is likely to entail enhancement in waste to resource/asset in the system. Their intermediating role of repositioning material flows in waste-as-resource as well as influencing knowledge flows about recycling nutrients are important business processes to advance circular bioeconomy.

Main title:Exploring the role of business intermediaries to advance circular bioeconomy
Subtitle:multi case study on plant-essential nutrient recycling firms and users in Sweden
Authors:Batsukh, Urankhaich
Supervisor:Langendahl, Per-Anders and Mcconville, Jennifer
Examiner:Ferguson, Richard
Series:Examensarbete / SLU, Institutionen för ekonomi
Volume/Sequential designation:1438
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM005 Environmental Economics and Management - Master's Programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Economics
Keywords:business model, circular bioeconomy, intermediary, nitrogen, nutrient recycling, phosphorus, sewage sludge, wastewater
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Economics and management
Deposited On:14 Jul 2022 10:52
Metadata Last Modified:15 Jul 2022 01:07

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics