Sustainability Potentials Identified

Interview on Sustainability and Environmental Compatibility

Q & A with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Kohl, Fraunhofer IPK

How can production science help to fight global warming?


It is important that we think and research along the entire process chain. Which are the points in a product lifecycle where most CO2 can be saved? One method to answer this question is lifecycle assessment, which shows exactly where the greatest impact can be generated. This enables us to identify the major CO2 drivers in a targeted manner and derive cost-effective and efficient measures. 

What are the best levers here?


The first major issue is resource efficiency. With the current state of production technology, the production of steel, aluminum, plastics and cement alone will cause around 800 gigatons of CO2 in the 21st century – which is enough to miss the two-degree target. That’s why it is important to recycle such materials in the sense of a circular economy, also to reduce the global waste mountain. The second important issue is energy consumption.

What should manufacturing companies consider in their electricity consumption? 


Germany is one of the countries with the highest energy prices. CO2 pricing and global conflicts will only exacerbate this situation. Industry is therefore well advised to save energy wherever possible. Our R&D work aims at exploiting potentials for our partners down to the last bit, for example in the field of automatic energy efficiency control of supply technology or in optimizing production processes.

Who we talked to

Prof. Dr. Holger Kohl is deputy director at Fraunhofer IPK and head of the Sustainable Corporate Development chair at Technische Universität Berlin. His research focuses on the development of sustainable value creation systems as well as process and performance management systems for sustainable corporate development.