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Recycling Economy 4.0

Outotec Technology Director joins the Helmholtz-Zentrum in Dresden, Germany

Press Release of May 18, 2015

With the arrival of Prof. Markus Reuter in September 2015, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) will gain an internationally renowned expert in metal recycling and sustainable technologies. Until that time, he remains in charge of technology management at the Finnish company Outotec, the world leader in processing metallic and mineral raw materials. As director of the HZDR’s Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology, Reuter will intensify his research into the “Internet of Things”, that is, into the recycling of metallic raw materials within a material and energy-efficient Circular Economy 4.0.

“Recycling of modern products is becoming increasingly more difficult due to their complex composition,” explains Markus Reuter. At the same time, recycling is currently gaining tremendous importance because a sustainable society must be able to recover discarded, scrapped or obsolete products as a valuable and critical source for raw materials. “I have been involved for many years in developing new concepts for a resource-efficient circular economy,” continues Reuter. “The fact that we at Outotec were named the third most sustainable company at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos is significant for our industry.” Reuter, who is also professor at Aalto University in Finland, has always been particularly concerned with making students aware of matters of sustainability and with educating them in the realms of recycling, metallurgy, process and system modelling as well as optimization.

This particular combination of technology management, science and education, makes Reuter the perfect candidate for director of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF). The engineer and beneficiation expert will serve as a second director, joining geoscientist and founding director Prof. Jens Gutzmer. "Markus Reuter’s scientific expertise fits precisely with the profile of our institute while it also strengthens several important interfaces with the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, our closest cooperation partner,” says Gutzmer. Reuter will receive approximately four million Euros from HZDR and the Helmholtz Association for creating his own research group and for networking with material and energy-relevant groups within the Helmholtz Association.

Intelligent Circular Economy 4.0

But what are the characteristics of a circular economy? It is the ultimate goal that any product that reaches the end of its active use can be dismantled to enable the recovery of all raw materials contained within it. These raw materials are thus recycled and retained for future use. That is why research and development should take into consideration how products can be recycled before they are produced. But how can devices and materials with increasingly complex functionalities and compositions be efficiently recycled in terms of resources? A systemic and largely digitalized Circular Economy 4.0 should offer answers to this question. The objective is to link all sectors of the resource value chain together – from the exploitation of raw materials from primary sources and production of industrial goods to recycling – via computer simulations and optimization models.

“We are very pleased that Markus Reuter, a recognized leader at Outotec, will be joining the HZDR and contributing to German science," says Prof. Roland Sauerbrey, Scientific Director of the HZDR. “His role as main author of the UN report on metal recycling is a symbol of his commitment to resource efficiency and his outstanding scientific influence.”

Further information:
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Markus Reuter
Director - Technology Management
Adjunct Professor Aalto University
Outotec Oyj & Aalto University
Riihitontuntie 7 D, PO Box 86, FI-02200 Espoo, Finland
Phone: +358 20 529 2907 |

Prof. Jens Gutzmer | Director
Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology at HZDR
Phone: +49 351 260 - 4400 |

Tina Schulz | HIF Press Officer
Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology at HZDR
Halsbrueckerstr. 34, 09599 Freiberg, Germany
Phone: +49 351 260 - 4427 |