New Research Institution for Resource Security

Press Release / April 17, 2019

For eight years now, the Fraunhofer Project Group for Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies IWKS has been successfully driving forward the securing of raw material supplies in Germany. The research group was founded under the umbrella of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research and has been growing continuously ever since. As of April 8, it will be continued at its locations in Alzenau and Hanau as an independent Fraunhofer research institution under the name Fraunhofer IWKS.


Based on its established know-how, Fraunhofer IWKS will continue to develop its reputation as a research service provider in the field of resource protection under its own flag. The main areas of research are material flow management, urban mining, biogenic raw materials, magnetic materials, energy materials and recyclate analysis.

Today, Fraunhofer IWKS employs around 90 people in two federal states and its expertise has become an important part of the technology and science site of the Rhine-Main region and Germany. At its meeting in November, the Senate of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will deal with the formal transition of Fraunhofer IWKS into independence scheduled for January 1, 2020. The Executive Board already now mandated Prof. Dr. Anke Weidenkaff, who has been in office as executive director of the project group since 2018, to manage the research institution Fraunhofer IWKS as an independent institution.

"In addition to the dedication and commitment of the employees of Fraunhofer IWKS, our special thanks go to Fraunhofer ISC, which has always supported us during the start-up phase and provided us with advice and assistance," said Prof. Dr. Anke Weidenkaff. "This step is a decisive milestone for Fraunhofer IWKS and I am very pleased to be able to continue the successful development work we have carried out so far together with our employees".

The portfolio of Fraunhofer IWKS is also to be further developed thematically. "Resource efficiency and securing raw materials are of crucial importance for all companies. This is exactly where we come in: At the Alzenau site, the research work will concentrate on the main topics of digitization and resources, including economics and ecology in the environmental service branch. In Hanau, the field of recycled materials for applications in electromobility will be further expanded in the areas of batteries and fuel cells, lightweight construction, electric motors and high-performance electronics with industrial partners from the region. This puts us in a perfect position for the future."

Fraunhofer ISC is pleased to have successfully initiated and advanced this development. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Fraunhofer ISC as the parent institute, together with Bavaria and Hesse and the industrial locations Rhein-Main and Bayerischer Untermain, have set the course at the right time for a new sustainable approach to recyclable materials.

The employees of Fraunhofer IWKS and Dr. Thomas Hofmann, Vice Director of Fraunhofer ISC, are excited about the newly achieved milestone.
© Fraunhofer IWKS
The employees of Fraunhofer IWKS and Dr. Thomas Hofmann, Vice Director of Fraunhofer ISC, are excited about the newly achieved milestone.