The use of resources is fundamental to all life and economic activity. Pressure on natural resources like raw materials, energy, area, water and biodiversity is increasing due to global population and economic growth. In consequence, a conservative yet efficient approach to resource consumption is paramount for future societies.

We carry out research and offer a broad range of consulting services in the field of efficient resource use and circular economy. We focus on a number of relevant aspects, such as modelling of the entire life cycle starting with environmental impacts arising from raw material extraction to waste management and recycling, as well as cascade use. In addition, one of our key competencies is in the development of conceptual methodology for the quantification of resource consumption, and in the assessment of efficient resource use on a number of benchmark levels. This includes strategic recommendations for the realisation of optimisation potentials, which may address policy makers, science, corporations and individual stakeholders, as well as combinations thereof. As an experienced, long-standing research institution with a firm place in the scientific community, we have access to an extensive research network, detailed analytical tools and modelling instruments, and a practical approach to research topics relevant to society. We provide consulting services on resources and circular economy matters internationally to organisations, governments and corporations.

Our expertise

We carry out model-based potential studies, simulations, scenario calculations and technology assessments. Furthermore, we offer ecological accompanying research for pilot and demonstration projects. Our clients are governmental institutions on all levels of administration as well as consumers, producers and suppliers. The key focus of our work is on environmental-technological analyses and on an engineer’s approach to project management. In addition, we include aspects of economics and social sciences under application of quantitative and qualitative methodology. Thus, we engage in transdisciplinary research at its best.

Our methodologies

  • model and scenario calculation
  • Life Cycle Analysis
  • material flow analysis
  • economy modelling
  • tool development

Our key research topics


Circular economy

Waste management in Germany has undergone a paradigm shift from waste disposal to a circular economy approach. The establishment of closed material loops is paramount to ensure that applied raw materials re-enter the production process through recycling.

Resource transition

Resource transition includes the absolute reduction of resource use, particularly for primary raw materials. Considerate use of natural resources increases resource efficiency and reduces environmental impacts.

Fluß im Wald


Water is a scarce resource with an uneven regional distribution across the globe. Due to high competition for water, the sustainable and efficient use of the resource water and the improvement of water quality are crucial on a global scale. The ifeu supports clients intent on making a contribution to the responsible use of water with a range of methods.