The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FHG) is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization. At present, the FhG maintains 66 institutes and research units in Germany with more than 24,000 staff.

Fraunhofer IWKS is a newly established strategic research group, formally part of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research (ISC) with its distinguished expertise in applied material science. Three major research fields are pursued by IWKS: (1) resource strategies, foresight studies, modelling, lifecycle analysis (LCAs) (2) recycling technologies, and (3) substitution for/of critical materials.

With respect to economic feasibility and environmental aspects the Fraunhofer IWKS develops intelligent, cost- and resource efficient products, processes and services. Our research areas cover the whole value chain, from mineral processing and metallurgy, recycling strategies and substitution. The project group participates in a large number of national and international research programs and focusses on bridging the gap between academic research and industrial application. The group develops a holistic view on the problem of criticality of mineral resources and plays an active role in consulting politics and industry in this matter.

Working closely with commercial partners, the IWKS is developing innovative separation, sorting and processing procedures to extract secondary raw materials, which can meet the high demands of industrial production. The substitution of scarce resources is an integral element of the IWKS strategy.

The IWKS comprises a wide range of instruments for physical and chemical characterization of materials at high resolution and is tightly connected with the research facilities of the TU Darmstadt and the University of Gießen, which enables us to use additional facilities. Also chemical and microbiological laboratories for hydrometallurgical and bio-leaching extraction experiments are available.


In SCALE, FHG applies its expertise in mineral processing to increase the dissolution rates of Scandium from solid by-products utilizing enhanced physico-chemical methods like mechnochemical leaching and microwave assisted leaching.