Raw-Materials Supply and Resource Efficiency

Raw-Materials Supply and Resource Efficiency concentrates on the major challenges of primary raw materials and recycling. We deal with these topics not only at a technical level but also holistically, reflecting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations (UN): the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In our research area, engineering and science institutes are working in collaboration with the Institute of Computer Science and the Institute of Management and Economics to develop solutions for the sustainable extraction and use of natural resources, thereby contributing significantly to the advanced circular economy. We feed any new discoveries into our university teaching as well as into innovative projects to spread knowledge into society.

Responsible use of raw materials is the prerequisite for a sustainable industrial society. As a research area, Raw-Materials Supply and Resource Efficiency covers the entire value-creation cycle of natural materials:

We look at the beginning of the product life cycle, starting with sustainable, safe, and energy-conscious extraction, via resource-efficient processing of primary commodities and development of materials, all the way to the potential of design and construction for a circular economy. With our projects on environmental and behavioral economics, we examine the use phase (consumer behavior) and the beginnings of secondary use (e.g. user-endorsed collection systems and B2B value-creation networks). Thanks to our solutions for high-quality recycling, usable commodities are returned to the product life cycle as secondary raw materials. We also continue to support projects on the safe disposal of substances which can no longer be usefully fed back into the cycle. Through our work on mine reclamation, we come full circle to the waste products of the past (e.g. dealing with tailings) and develop ideas for putting former mining regions and moribund mining operations to new uses. In the interests of bringing about an advanced circular economy, we develop business models and digital solutions (Industry 4.0, automated/autonomous systems) for all stages of the raw-materials value-creation cycle, involve ourselves in questions of standardization and reporting, and examine the long-term repercussions of our research (e.g. life-cycle assessment/costing and sustainability reporting).

In conjunction with our partners in the region, we put our findings into practice locally – and through our European and international partnerships, we play our part in resolving global challenges in the raw-materials field. We have more than 40 professors and their teams working on these topics.

Whom to contact

Speaker of the field of research:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jens-André Paffenholz
Phone: +49 5323 72-3333
E-Mail: jens-andre.paffenholz@tu-clausthal.de

Deputy speaker of the field of research:
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Thomas Ulrich
Phone: +49 5323 72-3143
E-Mail: thomas.ulrich@tu-clausthal.de