Anthropogenic Resources

Overview Research


The limited availability of many natural resources has become a growing concern within the last few decades. Continuous growth in global material turnover during the last century, which has resulted in enormous resource consumption, as well as recent increases in commodity prices are the main driv-ers of these concerns. In addition to existing efforts to intensify exploration for new deposits, propo-sals for higher efficiency in resource use and the recycling of materials have been put forward to overcome the potential danger of more pronounced material shortages. To foster the latter two activities, detailed knowledge about the usage and life cycle of materials within the anthropogenic metabolism is crucial.


Hence, the overall objective of the proposed CD laboratory is to develop a methodological framework to identify, characterize and evaluate anthropogenic resources in view of material quantity, quality, and availability, and under varying (economic, technological) boundary conditions.

By means of case studies (module 1 of the CD laboratory), which place emphasis on different materi-als and sectors, new approaches for analyzing the anthropogenic metabolism and the potential use of secondary resources are demonstrated. In particular, the case studies focus on the following materials and sectors: material stock in built infrastructure (case study A), aluminum (case study B), plastics (case study C) and fly ashes from waste incineration (case study D). The expected results range from detailed process sequences for the recovery of metals from fly ashes to recommendations for nationwide management of plastics or aluminum, and guidelines for the characterization, utilization and prediction of waste arising from infrastructure.

Ultimately, a methodological framework for evaluating secondary resources analogous o primary resources will be developed (module 2). Such a framework will allow a differentiation of the anthropo-genic stocks of the selected materials into resources and reserves, thereby making them available for future resource strategies.

Structure of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Anthropogenic Resources