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Sustainable consumption of resources in production
September 2005 to March 2006
Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) on behalf of German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Funded under the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) framework program 'Research for sustainability', the project was designed to create a content base for forthcoming calls within this program. The project aims at systematically identifying focal points of action and research to open up potentials of sustainability in resource use. Eleven German research institutions wrote overview reports on relevant industrial sectors. The overview reports were based on an evaluation of existing research reports and results expert interviews from relevant industries and industry associations. In four workshops, two of them with participation of representatives from industries, the results were discussed in order to come to cross-sectoral conclusions.
The work focused on the production chain starting with mining or harvesting of resources, and ending at semi-finished products or commodity products. These steps typically show a large mass throughput and, consequently, a potentially large environmental impact. Nevertheless, the first process steps hold a key position for numerous subsequent production steps and thus for sustainability in production.
The sectors chosen (nonferrous and ferrous metals production, glass, paper, ceramics, textiles, construction, chemicals and secondary resource production by waste management) are representing 36.8% of the entire national German energy consumption and 54.3 % of the abiotic resource consumption. For each of these sectors the relevant technical, socio-economic, and ecological data were put together. These comprise the description of the main processing steps, a Material Flow Balance over the sector, additional sector information, and the definition of R&D-needs. Moreover, these R&D-needs were assessed from a technical, socio-economic, and ecological point of view. Cross-sectoral R&D-needs have been identified and documented as well. This project was published in book form (Hirth et al., 2007)
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