CIRCONOMY® Hub – Putting sovereign value cycles and circular economy into practice

Sustainable production, sustainable consumption and a circular economy require systemic and technological solutions, which are created in innovation networks. Fraunhofer proposes building a network of CIRCONOMY® Hubs across Germany: These hubs are a new, agile instrument for cooperation on the basis of a shared mission and a reliable data space. They create added value regionally, nationally and internationally. In each hub, Fraunhofer institutes work with their partners in industry, science, politics and society on a mission not just to contribute to the circular economy, but to develop innovations for sovereign value cycles, climate neutrality, circularity and bioeconomy.

In 2020, the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, 14 Fraunhofer institutes used Fraunhofer research resources to develop a concept for turning linear value chains into sovereign value cycles. At the center of this research were Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12, the transformation to a circular economy and the principle that economic value creation needs to incorporate social and ecological measures of value along regional and global supply chains. The second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2021, exposed not just the medical consequences of unbridled viral transmission, but also the associated supply chain disruptions, resulting in a dwindling security of supply. In summer 2021, the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) enshrined the responsibility of businesses for global supply chains in the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz — LkSG). In the same year, the project consortium, which had by then grown to include 16 Fraunhofer institutes, once again used Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft resources to develop a way to put sovereign value cycles and the transformation to the circular economy into practice using mission-oriented CIRCONOMY® Hubs. 

The 16 cooperating institutes combine expertise in material, product and process development, digitalization and data management, supply chain management, sustainability assessment, renewable energies, manufacturing engineering, recycling, material flow management and economics.


Overall coordination


Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT, Oberhausen

Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE


Participating institutes


Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS, St. Augustin

Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP, Stuttgart

Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, Stuttgart

Fraunhofer Insitute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Freiburg

Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU, Dresden/Chemnitz  

Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP, Potsdam |CCPE-Institute  

Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT, Pfinztal | CCPE-Institute

Fraunhofer Research Institution for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Systems IEG, Bochum

Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Stuttgart

Fraunhofer-Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, Dortmund | CCPE-Institute

Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, Aachen and Schmallenberg, Gießen, Münster

Fraunhofer Institute for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW, Leipzig

Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST, Brunswick

Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV | CCPE-Institute

Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF, Darmstadt

Fraunhofer Reaserch Institution for Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies IWKS


List of Fraunhofer structural elements involved


Fraunhofer Group for Resource Technologies and Bioeconomy

Fraunhofer Group for Energy Technologies and Climate Protection

Fraunhofer Group for Innovation Research

Fraunhofer ICT Group

Fraunhofer Group for Production

Fraunhofer Materials

Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE

Fraunhofer Strategic Research Field Resource Efficiency and Climate Technologies

Fraunhofer Strategic Research Field Bioeconomy

Fraunhofer Building Innovation Alliance Building Industry

Fraunhofer Alliance Chemical Industry

Fraunhofer Energy Alliance

Fraunhofer Alliance Agriculture and food industry


All employees would like to thank the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for funding the two projects.