University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 094/2023, 30.6.2023
University of Bayreuth drives research for an improved circular economy
Prof. Dr. Christoph Helbig, Chair of Ecological Resource Technology at the University of Bayreuth, is investigating framework conditions and measures for the circular economy on an international level in his latest project, using the example of electronics and electric vehicle batteries. The goal is to come up with concrete proposals for a more efficient and environmentally friendly circular economy.
Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research and partner universities in Turkey, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand, Prof. Dr. Christoph Helbig, Chair of Ecological Resource Technology at the University of Bayreuth, will in future be researching the circular economy from the micro to the macro level in the Circularity³ project. The Circularity³ project aims to provide recommendations for the successful implementation of environmentally friendly measures for the circular economy.
As part of the Belmont Forum's Systems for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SSCP) call for proposals, the Circularity³ project has been awarded a contract and will now be funded with 723,000 euros over a period of three years. The Belmont Forum is an association of funding organisations, international science councils and regional consortia committed to promoting transdisciplinary science. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is also involved.
Circularity³ will first conduct a thorough conceptualisation and then an analysis of the technological, economic, social and political interactions within the circular economy. The aim is to better understand the socio-economic framework of e-waste and battery recycling and other circular economy measures and to quantify their environmental benefits. Particular attention will be paid to case studies to gain a detailed understanding of the interactions within the focus areas. The case studies will be conducted in different countries and then compared with each other.
In this context, Christoph Helbig's Chair of Ecological Resource Technology will conduct research together with the project partner in Yasar University, Turkey, on sector-specific surveys of material flows and life cycle assessment of the circular economy. "What is special about the Circularity³ project is that through the binational tandems we can apply and compare our research methods in different regions," emphasises Prof. Dr. Christoph Helbig. "While old electrical appliances are a perennial issue in ecological assessment, lithium-ion batteries from old electric vehicles present us with completely new challenges in research."
Finally, at the end of the research project, concrete suggestions will be made to stakeholders from the relevant industries on how they can make the circular economy worldwide more environmentally friendly and efficient at the same time.