In the circular economy, there is no need to reinvent the wheel
The first industrial revolution is considered to have begun in the transition from the 1700s to the 1800s, marked by the invention of the steam engine. Even though over 200 years have passed since the inception of this series of events, the subject matter feels more relevant than ever as we construct a future based on the principles of a circular economy. Many aspects have remained unchanged, but now our focus needs to extend beyond industry boundaries.
The invention of the steam engine was motivated by the necessity to efficiently pump water out of coal mines, which for the first time linked the use of energy with fossil raw materials. This innovation sparked research and development, and given the conducive societal atmosphere of the time, the technical improvements of the steam engine were successfully applied in the textile industry. Simultaneously, the industry was becoming mechanized, setting the stage for broader societal transformation.
While times have changed, certain principles haven’t shifted in two centuries. On top of these, new demands and opportunities of the circular economy have emerged.
Technologization often doesn’t require new innovations, but rather the flexible integration of various existing technologies.
From industrialization to technologization
During the era of the industrial revolution, there was talk of industrialization when work tasks started to become automated and natural resources were harnessed more extensively to meet the evolving needs of society. Nowadays, the term “technologization” is used. It encompasses all the various actions taken to provide the necessary technological entities for a developmental idea, enabling it to function efficiently, sustainably, and economically.
Technologization often doesn’t require new innovations, but rather the flexible integration of various existing technologies. The integration of different possibilities offered by digitization alongside other solutions is becoming increasingly central. Solutions that facilitate and automate operations, for instance, are playing a more pivotal role. Also, building resilience is crucial within the industrial framework to ensure adaptability to a rapidly changing operational environment.
Risk management is also needed in the circular economy
Advancing industrial operations always entails investments, accompanied by their inherent risks. These come in various forms, but in an industrial context, economic and technical risks typically take the spotlight. Competence plays a key role in managing the latter, making it essential to make the right technological choices. The different components of an investment must also be seamlessly integrated.
For managing economic risks, meticulous groundwork is vital, ensuring that investment costs align with expectations and project funding is secured. It is also important to note that a significant portion of the lifelong environmental impacts of an investment is determined during the planning phase, setting the parameters for usability and efficiency over its operational period.
It is imperative to construct a new industry that capitalizes on the opportunities presented by bio- and circular economy, incorporating resource efficiency and safety as inherent features.
Looking beyond industry boundaries
The role of industrial development is becoming increasingly crucial as we tackle global challenges. Therefore, it is time to scrutinize industrial activity in a new light, while still keeping in mind the enduring foundations mentioned earlier. It is imperative to construct a new industry that capitalizes on the opportunities presented by bio- and circular economy, incorporating resource efficiency and safety as inherent features.
I can’t overemphasize that we need to harness the technological potential and expertise across different industries, transcending their boundaries, to accomplish the required leap towards sustainability swiftly enough. I feel inspiring to think that our experts continue the centuries-old tradition of industrialization, now propelling us towards the next industrial revolution for a more sustainable tomorrow.
Want to know more? Check out these related articles:
Our employees are the key to our success, and we treat them with respect. Hear from those who know it best – here is one of the stories from Teemu Turunen, currently working as Business Development Director at Elomatic.
Note: video is in Finnish
Industrial circular economy
We are your expert partner in industrial bio and circular economy. We offer services ranging from developing individual units to entire plant projects.