Critical Materials and Resource Efficiency Group (CARE)

The Critical Materials and Resource Efficiency (CARE) group addresses the implications of novel material and emerging technology applications on society’s material metabolism with a particular focus on closing material cycles. We build our research upon our long-lasting practical and scientific experience in recycling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and the analysis of material stocks and flows in different sectors.

Our research focuses on the following:

  • Characterization of the urban mine: Materials are increasingly shifting from geogenic (primary) into anthropogenic (urban) mines. In order to be able to design efficient and effective reverse supply chains we generate knowledge about their distribution, properties and behav-iour in the anthroposphere.
  • Assessment of materials stocks and flows induced by emerging technology applications: Emerging technologies are associated with material stocks and flows affecting society’s material metabolism. We describe and evaluate material stocks and flows associated with possible trajectories to a more sustainable society with regard to natural environment and societal con-straints as well as requirements of a circular economy.
  • Guidance for more sustainable, resilient material management systems:  Based on our knowledge and expertise derived from research we provide guidance for the design of more sustainable, resilient material management systems, with a particular focus on materials recovery in different societal contexts. This includes knowledge transfer both to industry and policy makers in order to allow for informed decisionmaking. The particular situation of material recovery in development country settings is addressed through North-South research and development cooperation projects.
Contact

Heinz W. Böni

Empa
Technology & Society Laboratory
Lerchenfeldstrasse 5
CH-9014 St. Gallen
Tel.: +41 58 765 78 58

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