Research group SURF

Sustainable Resource Futures

A society needs a sustainable supply of energy and materials as well as instruments to lead the way into the future. The challenge is to design the use of energy and materials in a resource efficient and regenerative manner in order to develop the physical basis of our society in a sustainable way.

The research group SUstainable Resource Futures (SURF) with the focus Sustainable Resource Management is headed by Prof. Dr. Stefan Bringezu. They develop concepts and strategies for a sustainable use of natural resources. This comprises fossil and mineral raw materials such as coal and metals, biomass as well as land, soils, and ecosystem services. The analysis considers ecological, economic and social aspects. The scope ranges from local to regional, national, European and global scale.

Research Questions and Approach

Material flows are analyzed from resource extraction, manufacturing and use of products, the recycling until the final waste disposal. The systematic analysis of the "socio-industrial metabolism", and the related global resource consumption and its drivers, allows us to derive measures to foster a more sustainable use of resources. Both technological and institutional options for improvement on various levels are analyzed and assessed with particular focus on related problem shifting.

The focus is on these questions:

  1. How to measure the use of natural resources and manage them in a sustainable way?
    • in a multi-scale system (local - regional - national - EU - global)
    • considering the socio-industrial metabolism and land use
    • for implementing the SDGs
  2. How to combine regenerative supply of energy and materials in a resource efficient manner?
    • Sustainable design of the "bioeconomy"
    • Carbon Recycling: using CO2 as raw material (CCU)
    • Urban Mining and resource efficient construction


External doctoral candidates

Mathieu Saurat

Ranahansa Dasanayake