The Fraunhofer IWKS project group develops technical and strategic solutions for the efficient use of secondary materials and functional materials.

About us

Against the background of ever more scarce and expensive raw materials, the Fraunhofer Project Group for Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies IWKS was created under the mantle of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC on 5 September 2011. Fraunhofer Project Group IWKS develops concepts to secure a long-term supply of raw materials to industry and, thus, enables a continued leading position in high technology in the future. For this purpose, research on innovative separation, sorting and processing procedures is performed in cooperation with industrial partners, and strategies to sustainably deal with valuable resources are being developed.

Security of raw materials supply – resource use rather than waste

The scarcity of resources has become a central political topic for the economic and social development of industrial nations. Securing a sustainable supply of raw materials to industry therefore is an essential issue, which the Fraunhofer-Project Group IWKS is addressing. The objective of self-contained materials recycling is a promising strategy, both from a technological and an economical perspective. The Project Group IWKS carries out targeted research on the recyclability of reusable materials, such as the research and development of new technologies for recycling processes and the substitution of rare raw and reusable materials. Working closely with commercial partners, the Project Group IWKS is developing innovative separation, sorting and processing procedures to extract secondary raw materials, which can meet the high demands of industrial production.

Expert Network "Resources"

 The structure of the Project Group IWKS


We have combined our core competencies into three areas of business, with a view to certain sectors and products. The close link between the Business Areas, Prof. Dr. Oliver Gutfleisch (Technical University of Darmstadt) and Prof. Dr. Rudolf Stauber (Executive Manager Project Group IWKS) allows a holistic approach in the scientific project work and ensures a comprehensive observation across the entire value chain. Thus, the project partners are supported optimally in their individual tasks.

At the centre of our work is the economic success of our clients, an increase in customer utility and an improvement in resource efficiency with regard to the use of material, energy and time.

Our ambition

Our ambition is to convert the latest scientific and technical knowledge into applications and products in a customer-oriented, efficient and sustainable manner.

The specialist expertise of the Project Group is supplemented by the parent institute, Fraunhofer ISC, and, where necessary, by further collaborations within the Fraunhofer Society and in cooperation with appropriate third-level institutions.

The Project Group IWKS has already begun its research with a core team, scientifically interdisciplinary, consisting of 40 employees (from the specialist fields of environmental management, process engineering, materials sciences, industrial engineering, biology, chemistry and physics, etc.) and will be further reinforced during coming years. The objective is the foundation of a proper Fraunhofer Institute in its own right from 2016.

The Project Group IWKS thus confronts the more important challenges of our time and, together with its industrial partners, develops innovative solutions for the future of our society. Each research area is staffed by specialists, while the business areas are strongly interlocked in terms of content and they act together. By these means comprehensive questions can be research holistically and solutions can be found by employing different approaches.