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Resource flows in a circular economy

Resource flows in a circular economya research area in focus at the Department of Environmental Science (a "Strategic Growth Area", SGA)

Resource flows in a circular economy 

Scarcity of resources is a challenge for future production. As resources get scarcer, circulating them within the economy is increasingly valuable. Parallel to increasing scarcity of resources, there is increasing focus on clean water, soil and air, healthy food and consumer products, which are demanded by citizens worldwide.

Recirculating the flow of resources provides opportunities and challenges. With system and technological innovation, society can retain a larger share of the resources in closed loops and thus reduce harmful environmental impacts. However, contaminants can also accumulate in the residual products, thus increasing risks along the bio economic value chain.

Using new types of raw materials derived from current production residues offers great potential for improving resource efficiency. For example residues from agricultural production can serve the energy sector (e.g. biogas) producing both energy and plant nutrients as fertilizer or by-products from the forestry sector can be used as soil amendments in agriculture.

Research needs

In order to establish a sustainable production based on the circulation of the resources flows, there is a need for interdisciplinary research efforts within the following areas:

  • Support the development of (bio) technological methods to transform by-products, waste materials and discarded products into new materials or products of better quality
  • Develop decision support systems that underpin the selection of investments in environmentally sustainable technologies.
  • Examine the potential to integrate policies on waste, water, nature, energy, including the potential for utilizing blue and green resource flows to bio refinery systems. 
  • Develop sustainable circular resource and ecosystem management models that ensure renewable (bio-based) production.

Examples of recent and on-going projects 

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Vis debug information


Resource Flows in a Circular Economy - publications within the research area.

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Resource flows in a circular economy - persons involved