Conserving resources in production

Life Cycle Assessments with a focus on resource and system efficiency, renewable raw materials, plastics and composite materials, packaging systems, recycling, and the energy cost-sensitivity of materials.

Materials and Product Systems

From research

The environmentally conscious treatment of natural resources is a crucial factor in the development of new product systems. On the basis of a Life Cycle Assessment, it is possible to address the environmental impact that arises in the course of production and application, and in different recycling processes.

Product systems in the overall focus

The depiction of special materials – high-performance plastics, rare metals, vegetable extracts, carbon fibers, and composites – in Life Cycle Assessments is the core competence of the Working Group on Materials and Product Systems. This extends from production of the basic materials and their processing into workpieces and components, up to end-of-life recycling or disposal. Materials and components are always integrated into overall value-added chains, which in the context of Life Cycle Assessments we refer to as product systems.

The basis is provided by the modeling of mass and energy analyses of the individual processes in the value-added chain and the life cycle, combined into a system model. The relevant product-related material and energy flows can already be derived from this and depicted in the value-added chain. For optimization toward sustainable development on a process and system level, both the ecological and the economic drivers in the process chain can be identified and the significance of individual process parameters compared against the options for varying entire product systems, whereby complex interdependences are taken into account and discussed in detail. The results provide support both to scientists in the development of materials and processes for the more distant future, and to companies in strategic decisions relating to materials and processes; they also serve as criteria for the awarding of labels such as Carbon Footprints or Environmental Product Declarations (EPD, PEF).

Methodology

Scientific procedure for the application of Life Cycle Engineering.

Reference examples

Selected references from cooperation with the Working Group on Materials and Product Systems carried out in the course of a project.

Competences in detail

Materials and Product Systems

Issues in connection with the Life Cycle Assessment of materials and of material and product systems are analyzed here – from production and usage up to end of life.