Interdisciplinary research group investigates raw materials transition in the German industry

(f.l.) Dr. Roh Pin Lee with the young researcher Florian Keller © IEC / TU Berga
The transition towards a sustainable low carbon economy is fraught with multiple challenges. Researchers from Freiberg will investigate how such a transition could look like, which alternative raw materials could be utilized and what the consequences for the energy and raw material systems would be.

How can we transit to a competitive, secure and sustainable raw materials management for industries which are dependent on carbon resources for their production? To support decision-makers in answering this question, the interdisciplinary research group “STEEP-CarbonTrans” develops interactive tools and measures to facilitate the evaluation of alternative technological and resource alternatives for a raw materials transition in the German industry. “The need to balance between considerations of competitiveness, supply security, sustainability and public acceptance have led to a complex decision environment. Decision-makers are confronted with the challenging task of obtaining an overview of their carbon value chains, and at the same time to estimate and evaluate wide-ranging and unanticipated consequences to their raw materials decisions”, highlighted Dr. Roh Pin Lee who is leading the “STEEP-CarbonTrans” research group. 

„Concerns about price fluctuations, depleting resources as well as climate change have motivated the search for alternative carbon raw materials. Biomass, coal, CO2 and waste are examples of domestic carbon resources which could be used instead of imported oil and gas to produce chemical products and fuels”, noted Prof. Bernd Meyer, Director of the Institute for Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg. To assess the potential of different domestic carbon resources as alternative feedstock for the German industry, the research group integrates technical and social science approaches to analyze associated social, technological, economical, ecological and political (abbreviated STEEP) effects on the raw materials system. The goal is to support decision-makers in obtaining a holistic overview of the opportunities and challenges which are associated with the utilization of different domestic carbon resources as well as existing and prospective technologies. 

“STEEP-CarbonTrans” is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under its “Nachwuchsgruppen Globaler Wandel” program for a period of 5 years (2017 - 2022) with 2.035 million €. A key objective of the program is the professional development and further qualification of young scientists. The research group will be integrated in the Technology Assessment Division at the Institute of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering, TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

Further information about the project:

Fragen beantwortet / Contact: 
Dr. Roh Pin Lee, Tel.: +49 3731 39-4423, E-Mail: