Circular Economy and Resources

Research Area

Circular Economy and Resources

We address resources, materials, recycling and environment under different scenarios for material demand for products and capital infrastructure.

Projects and Centres

Projects and Centres

logo world aluminium

The aluminium industry aims to promote a wider understanding of its activities and demonstrate both its responsibility in producing the metal and the potential benefits to be realised through their use in sustainable applications and through recycling.

Contact: Professor Daniel Beat Müller

logo biotenmare

  • Project title: BioTEnMaRe
  • Funded by: Poland National Centre for Research and Development
  • Project timeframe: 2013 - 2016

This project created innovative recycling technologies to deal with sewage sludge and other biowaste energy and matter recovery. An integrated model of sludge treatment and management, as well as remediation strategies of contaminated soils, was developed in order to reduce GHG emissions, use of non-renewable resources and soil pollution.

Contact: Professor Helge Brattebø

logo metal production

  • Project: Metal Production SFI
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: April 2015 - March 2023

This interdisciplinary Research Centre has a main goal of keeping the Norwegian metal industry at the forefront of sustainable innovation, achieving even higher-quality output with more efficient use of resources and energy. We model metal cycles and analyse impacts of future scenarios.

Contact: Professor Daniel Beat Müller

logo mica

  • Project: Mineral Intelligence Capacity Analysis
  • Funded by: European Commission Horizon 2020
  • Project timeframe: December 2015 - January 2018

Primary and secondary raw materials are fundamental to Europe’s economy and growth. The MICA project brings together experts from a wide range of disciplines in order to ensure that Raw Materials Information is collected, collated, stored and made accessible in the most useful way to meet stakeholder needs. To accomplish this goal, MICA will assess relevant data and information, and conduct analyses of appropriate methods and tools, in order to provide guidelines and recommendations.

Contact: Professor Daniel Beat Müller

  • Project: Nutrients in a Circular Bioeconomy: Barriers and Opportunities for Mineral Phosphorus Independence in Norway
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: September 2017 - August 2020

The MIND-P project analyses the barriers and opportunities for transforming the Norwegian bio-economy to reach (direct) mineral phosphorus independence by 2030, focusing on manure and fish sludge. In this project, we develop a spatially explicit phosphorus flow model for Norway, combining geographical information systems (GIS) with material flow analysis (MFA). In addition, we test the options for up-scaling the identified solutions and develop scenarios for transforming the Norwegian bio-economy towards mineral-P independence, while highlighting the consequent barriers, trade-offs, and industrial opportunities.

Contact: Professor Daniel Beat Müller

logo minfuture

  • Project: MinFuture: Global material flows and demand-supply forecasting for mineral strategies
  • Funded by: European Commission Horizon 2020
  • Project timeframe: December 2016 - November 2019

Global demand for minerals is growing rapidly, and material supply chains linking the extraction, transport and processing stages of raw materials have become increasingly complex. An interactive platform is needed to understand these global supply chains; the MinFuture project aims to identify, integrate, and develop expertise for global material flow analysis and scenario modelling.

Contact: Professor Daniel Beat Müller

  • Project: Microbially-produced raw materials for aquafeed (MIRA)
  • Funded by: Research Council Norway
  • Project timeframe: October 2014 - September 2018

MIRA explores the potential of photosynthetic microalgae and bacteria as sources of lipids and proteins for the salmon feed industry. State of the art biotechnological methods, including synthetic biology, genome editing, and directed evolution, are used to demonstrate the potential of heterotroph bacterium R. opacus and a phototrophic microalgae for producing feed ingredients that are not dependent on crops cultivated on arable land. In addition, material flow analysis is employed to investigate the system effects regarding resource, energy and biomass constraints of the developed solutions.

Contact: Professor Daniel Beat Müller

redu logo

  • Funded by: Avfall Norge
  • Project timeframe: 2015 - 2020

REdu aims to improve competency, expertise, and smart thinking for Norway’s waste management and recycling industry. We will strengthen training in higher education, focus on competence development, innovation and research, and highlight opportunities in the industry. REdu is an initiative of Waste Norway, and works in close cooperation with its members and university partners.

Contact: Professor Helge Brattebø


RemovAL – Removing the waste streams from the primary aluminum production and other metal sectors in Europe

  • Funded by: H2020
  • Project time frame: 2018-2022
  • 26 partners

The RemovAL project will combine, optimize and scale-up developed processing technologies for extracting base and critical metals from such industrial residues and valorising the remaining processing residues in the construction sector.

The ambition of RemovAL is straightforward: to overcome environmental issues and technological barriers related to aluminium industry, by combining and advancing existing technologies for the sustainable processing of BR, SPL and other by-products, generating revenue.

See RemovAL web pages

Contact: Associate Professor Johan Berg Pettersen

SisAI Pilot  - (Innovative pilot for Silicon production with low environmental impact using secondary Aluminium and silicon raw materials)

  • Funded by: Horizon 2020, European Union funding for Research & Innovation
  • Project frameline: 2020-2024

SisAI Pilot aims to demonstrate a patented novel industrial process to produce silicon (Si, a critical raw material), enabling a shift from today’s carbothermic Submerged Arc Furnace (SAF) process to a far more environmentally and economically sustainable alternative: an aluminothermic reduction of quartz in slag that utilizes secondary raw materials such as aluminium (Al) EoL scrap and dross, as replacements for carbon reductants used today.

Contact: Johan Berg Pettersen (NTNU coordinator: Gabriella Tranell).