CIRCONOMY® Hub – Implementing sovereign value cycles and circular economy

Sustainable production, sustainable consumption, and circular economy require systemic and technological solutions from innovative networks. The Fraunhofer Society proposes the creation of a nation-wide network of CIRCONOMY® Hubs: These Hubs will be an innovative and agile form of collaboration based on a joint mission and a safe and reliable data space. They provide added value on a regional, national, and international scale. In each Hub partners from science, industry, politics, and society come together with Fraunhofer-institutions to pursue an individual mission, but always to create innovation for sovereign value cycles, climate neutrality, circularity and bioeconomy.

In 2020, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, 14 Fraunhofer-Institutes came together to work on concepts to transform linear value chains to sovereign value cycles. The work was focused on Sustainable Development Goal SDG 12, the transformation of the industry towards circularity and the idea that for the generation of economic value in regional and global value chains we have to take into account social and ecological values, too.

During the following year, 2021, the second year of the pandemic created not only the awareness for the medical consequences of an uncontrolled propagation of a virus, but also in how far the interruption of value chains was intertwined with the security of supply. During the summer of 2021, with the „Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations for the Prevention of Human Rights Violations in Supply Chains“ the German Federal Assembly (Deutscher Bundestag) redefined the responsibility of businesses for global value chains. In the same year, two more Fraunhofer-Institutes had joined the consortium, so now 16 institutes worked on an approach on how to implement sovereign value cycles and the transformation to a circular economy in industrial application with all relevant stakeholders from society, industry, politics, and science.

The 16 Fraunhofer-Institutes provided insights and competencies from material science, product development, processing, digitalisation and data management, supply chain management, sustainability assessment, renewable energies, production technology, recycling, material flow management and macroeconomics.


Project coordination

Fraunhofer-Institut für Umwelt-, Sicherheits- und Energietechnik UMSICHT, Oberhausen

Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE


Participating institutes

Fraunhofer-Institut für Intelligente Analyse- und Informationssysteme IAIS, St. Augustin

Fraunhofer-Institut für Bauphysik IBP, Stuttgart

Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA, Stuttgart

Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE, Freiburg

Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkzeugmaschinen und Umformtechnik IWU, Dresden/Chemnitz

Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP, Potsdam | CCPE-Institut

Fraunhofer-Institut für Chemische Technologie ICT, Pfinztal | CCPE-Institut

Fraunhofer-Einrichtung für Energieinfrastrukturen und Geothermie IEG, Bochum

Fraunhofer-Institut für Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB, Stuttgart

Fraunhofer-Institut für Institut für Materialfluss und Logistik IML, Dortmund | CCPE-Institut

Fraunhofer-Institut für Molekularbiologie und Angewandte Oekologie IME, Aachen und Schmallenberg, Gießen, Münster

Fraunhofer-Institut für Internationales Management und Wissensökonomie IMW, Leipzig

Fraunhofer-Institut für Schicht- und Oberflächentechnik IST, Braunschweig

Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung IVV | CCPE-Institut 

Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF, Darmstadt | CCPE-Institut

List of Fraunhofer structural elements involved 

Fraunhofer-Verbund Ressourcentechnologien und Bioökonomie VRB

Fraunhofer-Verbund Energietechnologien und Klimaschutz

Fraunhofer-Verbund Innovationsforschung

Fraunhofer-Verbund IUK-Technologie

Fraunhofer-Verbund Produktion

Fraunhofer-Verbund Werkstoffe, Bauteile – Materials

Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE

Fraunhofer Strategisches Forschungsfeld FSF Ressourceneffizienz und Klimatechnologien

Fraunhofer Strategisches Forschungsfeld FSF Bioökonomie

Fraunhofer Leitmarktallianz Bauwirtschaft

Fraunhofer Leitmarktallianz Chemische Industrie

Fraunhofer Leitmarktallianz Energiewirtschaft

Fraunhofer Leitmarktallianz Ernährungswirtschaft

All employees would like to thank the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for funding the two projects.