Comprehensive survey of metallic raw material flows based on resources
The special research field 525 “Comprehensive survey of metallic raw material flows based on resources” (Ressourcenorientierte Gesamtbetrachtung von Stoffströmen metallischer Rohstoffe) was supported by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) from 1997 to 2003. Aim of the research project was to identify courses of action for a resource-conserving supply and processing of metallic raw materials in the area of conflict between technical developments and economic, environmental and social objectives. In this special research field there was a cooperation of engineers, natural scientists and economists of nine departments from Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH) and the research center Jülich.
For achieving the research aim, an integrated resources management system was developed and tested for its adaptability. The central point of the first work phase (1997 – 1999) was the construction material aluminium. In the second phase (2000 – 2003) the construction material copper was included. The consideration of SFB 525 ranged from formation of deposits to exploitation, mineral processing, smelting and to manufacturing and utilization. Processes of recycling for the appropriation of secondary raw materials, which follow to the utilization were also considered and identified as an integral part of raw material supply. Processes of transport, energy supply, recycling and waste disposal of the most important waste flows were included in the examination. This procedure made an analysis of the influence of the technical process chain over environmental, economic and social aspects possible.