We develop the key enabling technologies for sustainability & circular economy. These technologies make it possible to close the anthropogenic material cycles of carbon, minerals and metals independently of fossil sources and energies.These technologies enable compact, efficient applications in energy, industry, research, and mobility for society in times of climate crisis.
Resource and Energy Efficiency
Resources and Energy Efficiency develops and evaluates resource- and energy-efficient
technologies and concepts for metal-, mineral- and carbon-rich resources, superconductive
energy applications, and energy-intensive industrial processes in order to contribute to a future climate-neutral (carbon-neutral) circular economy.
One of the keys for a sustainable future of human society will be the sustainable use of resources.
Yet, this is a particularly challenging task especially as resources and energy are inextricably linked in the circular economy (CE). The resources life cycle supplies all materials and feedstocks to meet society‘s need of primary (i.e. geogenic or biogenic) or secondary (i.e. end-of-life or anthropogenic) resources. This includes materials needed to establish and maintain the infrastructure of the renewable energy system of the future. In return, the energy system supplies the power to drive the global system of material flows. Beneficial interaction of these systems is especially necessary due to the inherently fluctuating nature of dominating renewable energy sources (i.e. sun and wind) requiring maximum flexibility and energy efficiency of energy intensive industries.
Today, Germany’s industrial sector is responsible for ca. 30 % of the national energy demand including more than 40 % of Germany’s electrical power consumption.
The Topic “Resource and Energy Efficiency” thus has its focus on the nexus between energy and resource systems, providing solutions for a sustainable CE within the context of an energy system based on renewable energy sources as stipulated by the UN Sustainable Development Goals #7, 11 and 12.
The topic has the goal to maximize resource and energy efficiency by, among others, closing raw material loops, using currently unutilized residues and wastes as resources while maximizing energy efficiency. This includes the embodied energy (i.e. exergy) of the infrastructure built to sustain society. In other words, waste creation will be minimized to the level that it makes techno-economic sense – while taking into account the hierarchical approach to waste (prevent, re-use, recycle, recover, disposal) in the Circular Economy package of the European Union.