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Challenge #25

Establishing a sustainable, smart circular economy.

A smart circular economy requires industry that is climate-neutral in its production practices, conserves valuable resources and avoids waste. To achieve this economy, we do the fundamental research and develop innovative recycling technologies.

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Car bodies, consumer electronics, wind turbines, batteries, and most modern products, as efficient as they often are, all consist of many different parts and materials. Producing them requires a lot of energy and consumes valuable resources. At present, many plastic wastes, metal-containing products, and even concrete still cannot be recycled and thus end up polluting the environment and affecting the climate. That is why we are researching the fundamentals of material separation.

Characterizing raw materials, simulating systems, and assessing sustainability are key competencies for quantifying and improving the energy efficiency of processes. We are developing new recycling technologies for mixed plastic waste, composite materials, and cement with partners from waste management and industrial production. Through these efforts, we aim to reduce raw material consumption and prevent greenhouse gas emissions. Our goal is a circular economy in which we even reuse the wastes from complex products as raw materials.

(Header: KIT/Markus Breig)

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