"With circular economy, we want to replace the previous focus
on recycling materials and develop technologies and
processes for sustainable economy."
Prof. Volker Schulze
wbk - Institute for Production Technology
In the Circular Economy topic, KIT aims to develop a generalist approach from basic research to application and, in particular, to contribute the potential of engineering and economics and combine it with the range of expertise already anchored in the Center for Climate and Environment. The aim is to close cycles across system boundaries and expand core industrial processes in such a way that raw material requirements, emissions and waste, as well as any kind of environmental interaction in general, are minimized.
This gives rise to the following challenges in the topic "Circular Economy" in particular:
- Enabling the recycling of non-recyclable waste.
- Converting complex waste into raw materials.
- Maintaining added value in products even at the end of their useful life and enabling a second life for the product or its components through remanufacturing. This can be done in an update factory, taking into account design for recycling and by using business models and life cycle assessment.
- Securing raw material supply chains in compliance with high standards that have yet to be developed.
- Increasing social acceptance by involving the people involved in the value creation process.