Division Technology Assessment (TA)

The Technology Assessment (TA) research group focuses on deepening the understanding of the interaction at the nexus of science, technology and society to support the transformation from a linear to circular carbon economy.

Our tasks include the integrated assessment of “STEEP” (socio-technological-economic-environmental-political) impacts along technological and resource chains representing viable alternatives for the energy and resource economies. Both direct impacts as well as systemic and indirect effects are considered so as to facilitate a better understanding of the energy and raw materials systems as large-scale social-technical systems which are made up of interrelated components and stakeholders connected in complex networks and infrastructures.

A core competence of the TA department is process chain modelling on a broad basis of validated thermodynamic process models, which are drawn from many years of academic experience and cooperation with industrial partners. The well-founded technological analysis (product yield, energy demand, emissions) enables the economic and ecological evaluation of individual processes and systems. Technological focal points are conventional and innovative processes for the production of basic chemicals, fuels and energy carriers, PtX technologies, chemical recycling technologies as well as synthesis gas and gas treatment processes.

Another key focus of the department is on risk perception, analysis and communication. The integration of technical, economic and social science expertise in the TA department supports research on the perception and acceptability of alternative development pathways for a circular carbon economy by different stakeholders. The systemic and interdisciplinary approach utilized facilitates the development of grounded science and technical communication measures to promote awareness and dialogue regarding opportunities and challenges along STEEP dimensions in the transition from a linear to circular carbon economy. 

Research tasks:

  • “STEEP” evaluations to support decision-making for a transition from:
    i) fossil to renewable energy resources (energy transition),
    ii) primary to secondary/renewable resources (raw material transition),
    iii) a predominant energetic use of primary and secondary resources to a non-energetic application through an innovative integration of renewable energies (resource transition).
  • Detailed material and energy balancing and optimization of processes and systems.
  • Comparative eco-efficiency evaluations of the entire value chain for existing and promising technologies for the production of carbon-based products and fuels.
  • Life-cycle assessments for the conventional and alternative utilization of carbon resources as well as concepts for integrating renewable energy and CO2 in production pathways.
  • Identification of systemic factors in the social and institutional environments that are barriers to the societal, market and political acceptance of alternative utilization of carbon resources and the social uptake of innovative technologies and associated infrastructures for a circular carbon economy.
  • Science and technical communication.
  • Promotion of intersectoral dialogue and communication between key stakeholders to support the transition towards a circular carbon economy.

Approaches, tools and methods:

  • Energy and material flow analyses, process simulation (Aspen Plus, MATLAB)
  • Economic evaluation (annuity method, net present value)
  • Life cycle assessment (GaBi LCA, OpenLCA, EASETECH)
  • Risk assessments
  • Psychometric analyses
  • Surveys, focus group discussions and expert interviews
  • Workshops and colloquiums

Projects and references

  • InnoSynfuels project: Development of innovative processes for the production of synthetic liquid fuels from CO2 and H2
    Period: 01.07.20 – 30.06.22
  • BMBF „Nachwuchsgruppe Globaler Wandel: STEEP-CarbonTrans“, STEEP evaluation of technological and resource alternatives for carbon feedstock to support a raw materials transition in the German industry; FKZ: 01LN1713A; Period: 01.09.2017 – 31.08.2022
  • ODYSSEUS (2019-2022): Coal-to-liquids supply chain integration in view of operational, economic and environmental risk assessments under unfavourable geological settings (financed by the European Union (RFCS)
  • Industry Consortium for a Circular Carbon Economy (ARGE K2-NRW) with RWE, INEOS and REMONDIS; Period: 01.09.2018 – 31.08.2021
  • BMBF-funded e-KeroSyn (2018): New synthesis process for production of kerosene from CO2 and renewable H2; FKZ: 03ZZ0734; Period: 01.2018 – 12.2018.
  • BMWi-funded project HotVeGas III (Fundamental studies for the development of future high-temperature gasification and gas treatment processes for dynamic power generation and production of chemicals), BMWi No.: 0327773J, Funding period: 01/2016–12/2019
  • §  BMBF „Sustainability evaluation of concepts for the circular carbon economy with the integration of chemical utilization of lignite“; FKZ: 03SF0559B; Period: 01.04.2018 – 31.08.2019
  • SMWK-Project „Low CO2 emission coal chemistry and chemical recycling as contribution to a sustainable and low carbon circular economy in Saxony and neighboring regions“; Period: 01.07.2017 – 31.01.2018 
  • BMWi-funded project Brenngas-BGL (Improvement of the BGL gasification technology for the adaption in a polygeneration concept), BMWi No. 03ET7043, Funding period: 01/2015-12/2017
  • BMBF-funded project Erdoelbegleitgas (Technological and economical assessment of an innovative technology for the utilization of associated petroleum gas in Russian North regions), BMBF No. 01DJ15011, Funding period: 09/2015-08/2017
  • BMWi-funded project CODY (CO2-conversion in dynamic methanol synthesis), BMWi No. 03ET7063, Funding period: 10/2015-03/2017
  • BMWi-funded project Polygeneration-Annex (Evaluation of Annex-concepts for the integration of coal-based synthesis routes and conventional electricity generation), BMWi No. 03ET7042A, Funding period: 01/2015 – 12/2016
  • Zwanzig20-Forum – INNOVATION IN CARBON (Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research from 2015-2016; BMBF FKZ: 03ZZF51)
  • Collaboration with the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig to establish a technology assessment working group (Since 2013)
  • German Center for Energy Resources (Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research from 2010-2014; BMBF FKZ 03IS2021A) 


Abteilung TA


Head of Group: