Energy and Resources – Using raw materials more efficiently

As raw materials become scarcer and more expensive, we are laying the foundations to secure industry’s supply of raw materials in the long term, allowing it to continue to occupy a leading position in high-tech. To do this, we are researching innovative potential separation, sorting, processing and substitution techniques, and developing strategies for sustainable ways to use valuable resources.

Energie und Rohstoffe


Recovering trace metals from waste electrical and electronic equipment – Add Resources

For high-tech countries such as Germany with limited own natural resources, an alternative means of acquiring these metals is to recover them by recycling waste electrical and electronic equipment. Hitherto, however, there has been no suitable industrial process for recovering antimony and titanium from waste plastic. The objective of the Add Resources research project is to develop a technical process for recovering these metals, so allowing subsequent manufacture of "secondary" additives for reuse.

Critical rare earths

The purpose of the rare earth metals project is to assure industry's access to these and other critical resources. Rare earth metals are needed for example to produce the powerful magnets employed in wind turbines and electric motors. In the course of the project, solutions will be developed for both the substitution and the recycling of the rare earth metals neodymium and dysprosium.

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Project cooperation »Rubber from dandelion«

© Fraunhofer IME


Rubber can be extracted from the juice of the dandelion. Yet the decisive breakthrough to industrial manufacturing is proving to be a tough step. Working jointly with industry and science, the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME has optimized the cultivation and production engineering over the past few years. Now the researchers – in collaboration with Continental – are building the first ever pilot system to extract vast quantities of dandelion rubber for making tires: an important milestone on the path to rubber procurement in Europe.


Beyond Tomorrow Project »Molecular sorting«

Shrinking raw material resources, rapidly growing demand in the newly industrializing countries, stricter environmental requirements – all these factors are responsible for the explosion of raw materials prices. Without an improved and more efficient approach to recycling the situation will not be solved. Research scientists are developing new separation and sorting techniques for resource-efficient production.

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Analysis of the evolution of renewable energy sources up to 2020 – »FORRES 2020«

The objective of this project is to produce an independent analysis and assessment of the implementation of renewable energy sources (RES) in the 25 Member States of the European Union and the Candidate Countries since the publication of the White Paper on renewable energy sources in 1997, and to propose a perspective for the period up to 2020.

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GRETCHEN – The impact of the policy mix on technological and structural change in renewable power generation technologies

GRETCHEN investigates the impact of climate, renewable energy and innovation policies (the »policy mix«) on technological and structural change in renewable power generation technologies. GRETCHEN uses an innovative research design based on three pillars: the combination of environmental and innovation economics, a multi-method approach and an integrated analysis on three empirical levels.

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