ifu Hamburg | Research Projects

If you would like learn more about our reserach projects, please contact us.

ifu Hamburg | Research Projects

Contact for research projects

Matthias Keitel

Matthias Keitel



ifu Hamburg Forschungsprojekte

Improve resource efficiency and sustainability

Since 1992 we have been involved as partners in numerous research projects at national and European level. We contribute our experience in software development, material flow management, process modelling and sustainability.
Below you will find a selection of some of the research projects in which ifu Hamburg GmbH is involved.

Introduction of Material Flow Cost Accounting (MFCA) in Hamburg Companies

"Introduction of Material Flow Cost Accounting (MFCA) in Hamburg Companies" is a cooperation project of the Hamburg Environmental Authority (BUKEA), the University of Hamburg, ifu Hamburg, and 10 companies which are located in Hamburg. The project was initiated in 2018 by the Hamburg Environmental Authority with the aim of introducing material flow cost accounting (MFCA) to Hamburg-based companies from various industries, thus promoting increased resource efficiency. The project was carried out by students of the University of Hamburg as part of a master thesis. ifu Hamburg GmbH supported the project by providing the Umberto software, as well as its long term expertise in the area of material efficiency.


The "EFFIMA BW" project was initiated in 2018 by the State Agency for Environmental Technology and Resource Efficiency in Baden-Württemberg (Umwelttechnik BW). The aim of the project is to promote material efficiency consulting for medium-sized companies in Baden-Württemberg. By means of practice-oriented case studies, companies are given the opportunity to apply and visualize material flow cost accounting and to promote resource efficiency. ifu Hamburg GmbH supports the project with its long-standing expertise in material efficiency and sustainability consulting.

Material Flow Based Improvement Assessments (MaFImA)

This research project is a joint project of the Environmental Research Baden-Württemberg as funding body, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and ifu Hamburg GmbH. The aim of the project is to further develop the MFCA method (ISO 14051) so that measures based on MFCA can be systematically derived and evaluated with the help of an expert system. The project started in January 2020 and is expected to run until December 2022. To achieve the project goal, existing MFCA projects will be analyzed. ifu Hamburg GmbH supports the project by developing mathematical algorithms to perform comparative scenario calculations with an expert system.



Live LCA

The "Live LCA" cooperation project, in which ifu Hamburg and iPoint-systems as well as other project partners from industry and research are involved, was launched in 2017. The project is co-financed by InnoEnergy and has received funding from the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT), which itself receives support from the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The aim of the Live LCA project is to develop a software solution that enables companies to combine available material and energy consumption data for the automatic calculation of life cycle analysis (LCA) and material flow costs (MFCA). This enables full transparency on the origin of energy and material costs within the production system as well as an automated calculation of life cycle assessments with real-time data. This combination provides the basis for energy and material efficiency, risk assessment, environmental performance improvements and sustainable product development.

The software solution that was developed in the course of the research project is called iPoint Product Sustainability and is now commercially available. Here you can find more information on iPoint Product Sustainability.


Steelmaking in electric arc furnace (EAF) is an energy-intensive process. This project aims to improve resource efficiency in EAF steelmaking by using a tailored material flow model. Besides ifu Hamburg, the Department for Industrial Furnaces and Heat Engineering (IOB) at RWTH Aachen University contributes to this project. Collaboration with several steelworks ensures that the results will be practice-relevant.


The aim of the "PolyBugs" project is to develop a flexible biocatalyst for the synthesis of platform chemicals such as biomonomers, oligomers and polymers. A possible basis for the development of a more environmentally friendly process for the synthesis of lactones, ω amino acids and di acids as key products will be laid.

The main feature of the project is that an eco-efficiency analysis is carried out right from the start to accompany the project. For this purpose, ifu Hamburg GmbH, in close cooperation with all project partners involved, will carefully examine the entire process chain and conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). In this way, possible ecological and economic limitations and hurdles in the process are identified at an early stage and any problems can be solved on time. This enables the development and achievement of a process that is as sustainable and efficient as possible. In order to ensure a reliable analysis with different data sources, the existing databases should also be harmonized and compared with the existing elementary material flows in a suitable format.

MFCA mobil

Material Flow Cost Accounting (MFCA) is an ISO-normed method to evaluate the efficiency of production processes with regard to material losses. In each production step the expenditures (energy, raw materials, auxiliary and operating materials) are divided among the desired and undesired products. Despite methodical training, the efficiency potentials often remain untapped due to various obstacles to implementation. The project "MFCA mobile", funded by the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU), aims to lower these hurdles for companies.

The ifu Institute for Environmental IT Hamburg GmbH and the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW) are developing an app that can be used to record the operating states of machines or inventories on a mobile device. Its purpose will be to enable its users to deal with resource efficiency issues from any location.

Simultaneously, consulting concepts will be tested in cooperation with the member companies of the Environmental Competence Centre Rhine-Neckar (UKOM), which will provide an efficient introduction to the topic and the development of MFCA models for the companies. Led by experts, the workload for data collection in the company will be reduced to the relevant information and fast insights with high added value will be generated.

KartAL 3

Mapping of the anthropogenic repository 3, successor to KartAL 1+2. Establishment of a material flow management system with integration of recycling chains to increase the qualitative and quantitative recycling of metals and mineral building materials.

The aim of the project is to develop and program a dynamic, updatable inventory model of the Federal Republic of Germany with a database, which can serve as a prognosis model for secondary raw materials from durable goods and thus as an urban mining planning basis.


ifu Hamburg partners with Technical University Braunschweig, IAV Automotive Engineering, Volkswagen AG, Magna International, BASF SE, and other partners in the MultiMaK2 project.

The goal is to develop improved methods and tools for integrated (economic, ecological, technical) evaluation of products and process chains for multi-material components with high manufacturing volumes. Taking into account the energy and material flows in production and life-cycle effects in different usage scenarios, design rules for products and processes as well as concrete component concepts will be derived.

MultiMaK2 is a project in the framework of the Open Hybrid LabFactory. This research and development project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and managed by the Project Management Agency Karlsruhe (PTKA). The project launches in 2015.


The project BioREFINE-2G aims at developing commercially attractive processes for efficient conversion of pentose-rich side-streams from biorefineries into dicarboxylic acids, which can be used as precursors for bio-based polymers including biodegradable polymers.

The project covers the whole value chain, from characterization of side streams from forest and other non-food feedstock, development of novel robust industrial yeast cell factories, fermentation and downstream process development, to polymerization methods development for the production of biodegradable polymers applicable as plastics, coatings or adhesives, scale-up and demonstration and to life cycle and economic viability analyses.

The consortium involves eight industrial and academic partners within the biotechnology sector. Additional participants include four SMEs and one large enterprise. bioREFINE-2G is co-funded by the European Commission in the 7th Framework Programme (Project No. FP7-613771). The project was running from 01.10.2013 to 30.09.2017.

Please find more information on the project website of BioREFINE-2G.


The Baltic Flows project is on rainwater monitoring and management in Baltic Sea catchment areas. The project lays the foundation for development of new capacities and policies for effectively monitoring and managing the quality and quantities of rainwater moving from one place to the next. Baltic Flows focuses on streams, rivers and cities in Baltic Sea catchment areas, not on the sea itself. The strategies, knowledge and expertise created during the project can be exploited elsewhere in the Union and in other global regions. The project will support the development of research-driven clusters in each region; enhanced capacities in diffuse load monitoring and urban stormwater management will lead to new business opportunities in the global market for water monitoring and management know-how and solutions.

The consortium consists of 17 project partners in five European regions. Within the consortium there are 6 research organisations, 6 SMEs and 5 public sector representatives.

Funded under FP7-REGIONS, project number 319923. Project duration Oct 1, 2013 to Sep 30, 2016.

Please find more information on the project website of Baltic Flows.

KartAL 2

Mapping of the anthropogenic materials stockpile 2, a follow-up to KARAL1. Mapping of the anthropogenic materials stockpile in Germany to optimize the secondary raw material economy through development of a dynamic material flow model.

The project's goal is to develop and program a dynamic, updatable inventory model for the Federal Republic of Germany, including a data bank that will serve as a model for prognosis of secondary raw materials from durable goods and therefore provide the basis for planning urban mining.

InReff - Integrated Resource Efficiency Analysis for Reducing Climate Impacts in the Chemical Industry

The joint project InReff ("Integrated Resource Efficiency Analysis for Reducing Climate Impacts in the Chemical Industry") started in April 2012 and will run for three years. Within the project, a planning tool will be developed and exemplary applied to enable practical and comprehensive view on climate protection by resource efficiency. Thus, this leads to an integrated analysis of material and energy efficiency combined with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production process in the chemical industry.

To enable a good linkage between theory and practice the project consortium consists of scientific and industrial partners: the companies H.C. Starck GmbH, Sachtleben Chemie GmbH and ifu Hamburg GmbH on the corporate side and the Institute for Industrial Ecology of Pforzheim University with the Institute for Chemical and Thermal Process Engineering at the University of Braunschweig as scientific partners.

The InReff project is co-funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project runs from 01.04.2012 to 31.03.2015.

StUChem - Environmental Assessment of Chemicals based on Molecular Structure

Zhe objective of the StUChem project was to develop a prototype of a web-based software for environmental assessment of chemicals based on their molecular structure.

The tool allows to estimate the environmental indicators greenhouse warming potential (GWP100a), cumulative energy demand (CED), and Ecoindicator 99.

This DBU-funded project (No. 30182) ran from 01.02.2013 to 31.07.2014. After completion of the project the result will be marketed by ifu Hamburg GmbH as EstiMol on their website.

eLCAr - E-Mobility Life Cycle Assessment Recommendations

"Will we run out of oil soon?" "When Gasoline becomes a Luxury!" These and similar statements leverage the discussion and research on new concepts of transportation, especially electric mobility or to keep it short e-mobility. It is generally believed that vehicles driven by electricity are much more sustainable and eco-friendly than conventional cars. Leading automobile manufacturers already rely on hybrid engines and work on the further development of complete e-mobility concepts.

Associated with this increased significance is the necessity for assessing the environmental impact of electric vehicles on a profound basis. That not only refers to the use phase but as well to production, disposal and its connected questions on recycling. The project "eLCAr", supported by the European Commission, refers to exactely these challanges. It aims to developing guidelines for the Life Cycle Assessment of electric vehicles. The ifu Hamburg GmbH supports the project with its long-term experience in LCA and its software solutions.

For further information please visit the Website of the eLCAr project.


Based on the lack of considering ecological aspects and of decision support for SME the project EnHiPro focuses on the analysis and evaluation of measures for increasing energy and auxiliary efficiency of SME's production systems. The procedure developed within the EnHiPro project and the associated methods/tools enable manufacturing SME to identify organizational and technical measures and its contribution to an increased efficiency.

Under the auspices of the IWF of the Technical University of Braunschweig, ifu Hamburg GmbH collaborates with other software partners on concepts and their prototypical implementation by selected industry partners. The focus is on continuous visualization and evaluation of measures to increase the use efficiency of energy, material inputs and material flow information in production planning and existing ERP environments.

This project was co-funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project period was from 06/2009 to 05/2012. The so-called "Effizienz-Generator" was developed within the project. This webbased tool offers approaches and measures to increase the operational efficiency.

Would you like to start a project with ifu Hamburg?

Then get in touch with us. We look forward to talking to you about interesting project ideas.

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