Material Flow Management

The Department of Material Flow Management deals with issues concerning the bio-economy from a regional perspective and aims to contribute to the decarbonisation of our society. The focal points of the works lie in defining and assessing the potentials of a region, while taking into account the different functions of a landscape (nature protection, economic and recreational functions), people’s needs and the interdependencies with other spaces. As part of this, the department extends the previous focal point of bio-energy in the holistic sense of the bio-economy, which includes issues such as the material utilisation of biomass. In addition to the traditional material flow analysis, the analysis of governance processes is also an important element in this context, so that the possibilities to implement bioeconomical structures can also be understood from the perspective of political processes.

In the field of bio-energy, the department works on:

  • Bioenergy potentials against the background of changing markets and perspectives of use
  • utilisations of biomass in the context of their economic and ecological effects
  • contribution to the energy system of the future, particularly the contribution to the transition to using heat from renewable sources
  • interlinkage of sectors in the electricity and heating market of the future
  • sustainable refinancing systems of facilities for the various utilisation pathways

As further aspects of the bio-economy, material usage options shall be examined, while giving particular consideration to cascade processes and their effect in rural areas. In doing so, different perspectives of the utilisation of biomass shall be compared with each other and evaluated. The effects of regional value added shall also be analysed within this context.

In order to initiate and establish processes of change and regional transformation existing governance processes need to be understood. In connection with decision-making processes, within the scope of climate protection, regional as well as national processes, governance processes need to be supported. To achieve this, formal and informal structures must be analysed, assessed and integrated in the processes.

Depending on the issue involved, a highly diverse range of analytical and evaluation methods shall be deployed to evaluate the courses of action. The department’s methodical tools of assessment include LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), methods of Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) as well as verbal/argumentative evaluation methods such as SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats ) and policy analysis.


Summarized, our services at a glance:

Bio-based energy and materials (the bio-economy)

  • Efficient regional bioeconomy concepts (material/energy-related for fresh and residual materials) within the spirit of a sustainable circular economy, while taking into account the conservation of resources, the relevance to climate protection and effects on employment
  • Consideration of the conflict between ecology/food security and energy security, particularly in the utilisation of agricultural and forestry areas
  • A holistic view of the up and downstream chains (cradleto-grave) of bio-based material flows in a technical, ecological and economic context

Sustainable land development and value-added chain analyses

  • Supporting rural/regional development and optimising added value in the areas of energy supply and the utilisation of (bio) resources as well as in the context of the tension existing between food/ecology/energy
  • Optimisation of the establishment of bioeconomic structures and added value chains at regional and national level as well as consideration of the urban/rural independence
  • Economic and technical feasibility studies for the implementation of practical projects along the biomass valueadded chain, particularly in the area of forestry and agriculture and residues
  • Ecological evaluation of valueadded chains and material flows including the calculation of the regional added-value using LCA tools
  • Conducting of spatial analyses using GIS (Geographic Information System) tools, including analyses of heat requirements and district heating design

Governance & policy analyses

  • Providing consultation to policy makers and municipalities
  • Socialempirical analyses
  • Support und evaluation of transformation processes on regional, national and interregional level

Our team consists of engineers, foresters, agricultural experts, political scientists and energy technicians.

We collaborate on national and international projects with more than 100 partners. In the (Belgium), Lorraine (France) and Luxembourg, where we act as the point of contact for bio-based regional development and the bio-economy. The department is active across the country and the EU, particularly in work involving the topic of bio-energy.