An unexpected compass in the sea of Circular Economy 2023-07-17

More and more companies are facing the need to transform their processes and the urgency to optimize resources in the way to adopt CE practices. Even if the demand to a renewable economic system is clear, business decisions are dealing with a high level of uncertainty, due to the novelty of this model and its quick expansion in recent years. All these factors lead to possible investment and strategic risks. A general overview of technological sectors is essential, and investigations can be supported by patents analysis.
Patents constitute a powerful yet underrated information resource, as new methodologies and technologies can be retrieved by their textual content, together with market trends and statistics. Patent analytics are conducted by applying Text Mining and AI methodologies to patent databases and can play a guidance role in the transition to CE.

An example of patents contribution towards innovation is represented by the SPICE project, which aimed at depicting the technological landscape in the recycling of lithium batteries. By the application of Text Mining algorithms, the project succeeded in identifying the map of the main technical problems faced in the sector, as well as the principal materials recovered from batteries, the applied technologies and to analyse market trends. Eventually, all the collected knowledge was structured in a digital patent database, easily navigable through a web interface. The case study proves how patent analytics can act as compass towards Circular Economy.

SPICE was conducted in the context of the EU-funded project DigiPrime, which aims at developing a new concept of Circular Economy digital platform that will unlock new circular business models, based on the data-enhanced recovery and reuse of functions and materials from high value-added post-use products with a cross-sectorial approach. The project, coordinated by Politecnico di Milano, involves 36 partners from 12 countries and is being validated through 6 pilots (batteries, mechatronics & electronics, composites & technopolymers, textile, cross-regional value chains and circular innovation hubs integration) and further detailed in 20 use cases covering different European industrial sectors.
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Tamara Besednjak Valič

Faculty Of Information Studies In Novo Mesto



Virág Szuák

Pannon Business Network Association