Circular Economy: Materials and processes for the circular use of resources | From laboratory to industrial scale

Increasing use of resources, high emissions and short-lived product life cycles characterize our linear economic system and our society. The consequences for people and the environment are becoming increasingly serious. Climate neutrality and resource efficiency can be achieved with a system change to a circular economy. This circular economy requires the development of new materials, new products and services as well as innovative value chains and tailored business models. 

We support your company on the path to a circular economy: we offer extensive expertise for specific material and technology developments in chemical recycling, polymer chemistry and plastics technology as well as water treatment and nutrient recovery. With our expertise in circular resources and their ecological assessment, we support your transformation.

Which questions we support you with

Circular materials: Plastics

  • Development of bio-based plastics and recycled plastics
  • Biodegradation of polymers and plastic products

Chemical recycling: Pyrolysis

  • Pyrolysis of plastics and composites
  • Pyrolysis products as a basis for chemicals, fuels or plastics

Water cycles

  • Treatment and recycling of process water
  • Recovery of valuable materials and nutrients from wastewater

Sustainability assessment

  • Systemic evaluation of processes and products
  • Circular design of materials and products

Our topics

Bio-based plastics

We develop tailor-made bio-based plastics for a wide range of applications from films, fibers and injection-molded parts. We cover the entire development chain from polymerization to material characterization.

Catalysts for industrial use

We support research institutions and companies in testing and screening catalysts. We also focus on the preparation and development of catalysts.

Chemicals and formulations

Many surfactants contain alcohols produced from palm oil or crude oil. We can produce identical or similar alcohols from fermentation residues.


Innovations for sovereign value creation cycles, climate neutrality, circularity and bioeconomy are created in CIRCONOMY® Hubs.

Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE

We help you to make your products circular and turn plastic waste into valuable resources.

Life Cycle Assessment

We carry out environmental auditing and critical reviews in accordance with ISO 14040/44 for products and services. We use the results to provide a strategic decision-making basis for sustainable action.


Fraunhofer UMSICHT has been working on microplastics and plastics in the environment since 2014. Focus areas: Sustainability assessment and development of solution strategies for reduction.

Participation and stakeholder engagement

We shape transformation processes – participatory and creative.

Plastics in the

We carry out sustainability assessments and systemic considerations and offer technical solutions through optimized process and filter technologies.

Processing of pyrolysis products into chemicals and fuels

We research innovative refinery processes.

Pyrolysis of plastics and composites

Fraunhofer UMSICHT has many years of experience in the development and operation of pyrolysis plants up to pre-industrial scale.

Transformation to a Circular Economy

We offer consulting with a high level of technological expertise and support the transformation of linear value added chains into sustainable value creation cycles.

Waste management strategies and circular economy concepts

We support you on your way to materials-cycle management by analyzing your waste management system.

Water management in production processes

We support you in optimizing the use and treatment of process and waste water in terms of impact, costs, reliability and sustainability. 

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