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Taking over of Scheme Ownership and Updates of the Greenhouse Gas CalculationTools for Biofuels


15.07.2015 It is essential that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from the production of biofuels and bioliquids are calculated in a standardised way. This is a requirement under the current biofuels sustainability ordinance. For that purpose, the IFEU participated in the development of two calculation tools: the BioGrace I tool at European level and ENZO2 as a German national tool.

After the completion of the EU financed BioGrace project in March 2015 IFEU took over the scheme ownership, i.e. the management and updating of the BioGrace I tool. An update of the BioGrace I tool is now available (Version 4d). For guaranteeing further harmonisation also for the ENZO2 tools updates have been prepared (version 1.4).

To the tools and further information …

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Assessment of the Socio-Ecological Potentials of Private Lending, Swapping, and Selling





PeerSharing Website30.06.2015 Cars, clothes, accommodation – many products and services can be lent and borrowed, swapped and sold between private individuals or peers. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project "PeerSharing". This transdisciplinary research project analyses the socio-ecological potentials of peer-to-peer-sharing. Four pioneers of the sharing community cooperate with the project: the platforms Kleiderkreisel, flinc, Drivy, and Airbnb. IFEU and the Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT) are teaming up with the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW, lead). Further collaborators and partners are the German online platform for sustainable consumption Utopia, and the international network Ouishare. The main task of IFEU is the life cycle assessment of shared products and serviced, as well as the comparison with suitable reference and alternative scenarios.

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Efficiency Transition requires stronger Citizen Support






Cover Broschüre Energiesparen19.06.2015 New study on "Citizens conserving energy" commissioned by the Citizens’ Energy Alliance Bürgerenergie e.V. and the Friends of the Earth Germany (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland, BUND) indicates considerable potential.
The concerted efforts of citizens supporting efficiency projects, i.e. citizens conserving energy, may be a decisive factor in the energy transition (Energiewende). Citizen support may effectively address major problem areas. Only the participation of local citizens allows for the full realisation of the numerous decentralised and small-scale opportunities for energy conser­vation, e.g. in sitting rooms, basements, garages and in office space of small businesses. There, on the ground, local knowledge, responsibility and networking interact most successfully.
However, to date, the enormous potentials of citizen energy conservation have barely been tapped. The recent study "Citizens conserving energy" commissioned by the Citizens’ Energy Alliance Bürgerenergie e.V. and the Friends of the Earth Germany (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland, BUND) illustrates the considerable potential of citizen support in energy conservation. Moreover, the study proposes solutions to overcome existing obstacles

More information (in German) ... (pdf 1.14 MB)

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SETAC - Annual Conference





Poster Hemeroby08.05.2015 Hemeroby approach as impact category indicator for the integration of land use into LCA presented at the 25th annual conference of SETAC Europe in Barcelona.

Hemeroby means distance from nature or from natural conditions. This ecological term is denominated as the negative environmental impact on focus. IFEU is applying this concept in LCA to assess land-use effects. This concept is also recommended by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA). All types of land-use areas (e.g. forest land, agricultural land, built-up area) are assigned to a system of seven hemeroby classes according to the results of the systematic approach via defined criteria and metrics. This approach has been recently updated and shall contribute to the on-going discussion on land use and biodiversity in LCA, as performed at the SETAC conference in Barcelona. Within this activity IFEU is cooperating with Prof. Dr. Birgit Grahl.

More information ...

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Highest Order of Merit of the State of Baden-Württemberg bestowed to Ulrich Höpfner





MP Kretschmann, Dr. U. Hoepfner, source STM_BaWue27.04.2015 Minister President Winfried Kretschmann bestowed the Order of Merit of the State of Baden-Württemberg on Dr. Ulrich Höpfner, Honorary Chairman, Co-founder and Executive Director of IFEU from 1977 to 2009. This order is the highest award of the state. It is bestowed for great merits for the State of Baden-Württemberg, especially in social, cultural, economic and political affairs. The number of award holders is limited to 1,000 living persons.

The Minister President declared at the ceremony: "Dr. Ulrich Höpfner is the pioneer of critical sustainability research in Germany. In 1977, together with like-minded people, he founded the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Heidelberg. Independent from political parties and companies, the Institute creates positions to environmental policy issues based on sound science and promotes the public debate. Important studies on nuclear energy, on waste management and resource issues, on questions related to climate protection, energy, environment and transport have strongly influenced policy-making in Germany.” For many years, Höpfner also served as member of State and Federal Committees, such as the Sustainabiliy Advisory Committee of the State of Baden-Württemberg.

More information…

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New Logo for IFEU


On April 26, 2015 we introduced a new logo for the institute.
The new logo combines the new and the proven: we kept the color green but used a fresher shade. The small font in the acronym was also preserved. The bouncing dot above the “i” signals our curiosity, enthusiasm and constant presence in all areas of environmental research. It also echoes the measuring points in the old logo.
Our logo thus reflects central elements in the work of the IFEU: creativity and continuity, scientific integrity, and our main goal, which is to contribute to improving environmental quality while raising awareness of sustainability in society.
The new logo is being introduced 25 years after the last logo change and on the anniversary of the disaster in Chernobyl, which had a significant impact on the work of the IFEU.

Download the new IFEU logo ...

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Technological GHG Reduction Potentials of heavy-duty Vehicles and related Costs


Cover Report20.04.2015 Heavy-duty vehicles account for about a quarter of the GHG emissions in road transport at present. Current projections expect substantial increases of HDV transport in the future. Therefore, compliance with climate change mitigation goals and the minimisation of final energy consumption require a substantial reduction of the fuel consumption associated with heavy-duty vehicles.
IFEU Heidelberg in cooperation with Graz University of Technology have analysed fuel savings and GHG reduction potentials of technological measures (e.g. powertrain, aerodynamics, rolling resistance) using VECTO the designated simulation-based approach for the standardised quantification of CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in Europe.
Based on fuel savings of each measure and related changes of vehicle costs (investment and fuel costs), payback periods as well as specific GHG abatement costs have been estimated for the single technologies and for technology packages.

Download of the study (in German) and English summary ...

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Eco-Profile for PTA updated


Cover Report16.03.2015 Commissioned by the Committee of PET Maufacturers of Europe (CPME), IFEU recently updated the Eco-profile of purified terephthalic acid (PTA). PTA is an important precursor for the production of PET (polyethylene terephthalate). For this reason, production data concerning material and energy input as well as emissions to air and water was collected from five European PTA producers. Collected data was combined with data describing resource input and emissions occurring during the production of energy and materials needed for PTA production resulting in a mathematical model. This led to a detailed description of environmental impacts caused by the production of 1 kg of PTA in Europe.
Eco-profiles focus on the production phase of a product "from cradle to factory gate", whereas a in full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) the complete life cycle of a product "from cradle to grave" is investigated. Thus, Eco-profiles represent important building-blocks for the calculation of a LCA. The updated Eco-profile for PTA therefore gives rise for updates of downstream products, for example of PET bottles.

More information ...

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New Energy Consultancy Studies


09.02.2015 The IFEU has completed two new studies on energy consultancy. For the Consumer Advice Centre North Rhine-Westphalia (VZ NRW), the energy consultancy project "Climate change mitigation and energy transition in detail" (KEK) was evaluated. The evaluation revealed a distinct positive effect on local energy consultancy and thus, on achievements in final energy savings and associated reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
For the ASEW (Working Group for rational use of Energy and Water in the Association of Municipal Companies), existing energy consultancy services for private households were investigated with the aim to identify opportunities for improved coordination to optimise quality control in energy consultancy. One crucial point revealed by the study was the lack of sufficient distinction between different energy consultancy services. This lack of distinction impedes efficient interlocking and networking of services. In consequence, the establishment of adequate quality control systems is hampered. The study proposed a number of measures for categorisation of consultancy services for improved clarity.

More information on the Evaluation for VZ NRW ...

Further information on the study for ASEW ...

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Milestones for Bioenergy


Cover Endbericht09.02.2015 The final report of the project “Milestones 2030 - Elements and Milestones for the Development of a Sustainable Bioenergy Strategy” is now available. The project was commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and had a duration of about two years. The research consortium could simulate different developments of bioenergy use by means of scenario-based modeling and analysed the impacts on climate, biodiversity, environment, infrastructure and food security. Within the project, IFEU was responsible for the life cycle assessment of the bioenergy scenarios
On basis of the results important milestones could be identified and recommendations for action could be derived, which should be achieved by 2030 to facilitate a long-term sustainable bioenergy strategy.

More information ...

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Waste Prevention by use of Flexible Packaging


Cover of the Report26.1.2015 The principal aim of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive is the prevention of packaging waste.
On behalf of Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE), the IFEU analysed whether the substitution of non-flexible packaging by flexible packaging solutions would lead to waste prevention and an overall decrease in resources consumption. The analysis revealed that the reduction in primary packaging waste associated with a switch to flexible packaging amounted to over 60 % of the total annual amount of primary packaging waste in the EU. A potential substitution of all non-flexible packaging used for non-beverage fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) by flexible packaging solutions would improve total Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Abiotic Depletion (ADP) results of all European FMCGs packaging, regardless of the various recycling rates modelled in a number of different scenarios. In consequence, the benefits of the substitution of flexible packaging for non-flexible packaging may distinctly exceed those of an increased recycling rate.

More information:
Executive Summary of the Study ( pdf 37 KB)

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Calculation Tool for Milk - presented on the International Green Week


foto Dr. Guido Reinhardt19.1.2015 During the International Green Week, the world's major consumer fair on foods, IFEU director Dr. Guido Reinhardt presents the first publicly accessible calculation tool for the environmental impacts of dairy products. IFEU developed a publicly available greenhouse gas calculation tool for milk, yogurt, cheese and further dairy products in a research project supported by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. For the project, in addition to greenhouse gases and energy, all other relevant environmental parameters were investigated, as targeted by a life cycle assessment. Also a comprehensive final report was compiled.

More information ...

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Change of the IFEU Executive Board


Foto Schluesseluebergabe; Fotograf: U. Höpfner
from left:
Markus Duscha, Dr. Martin Pehnt, Andreas Detzel, Lothar Eisenmann, Jürgen Giegrich

(with future IFEU-Logo)

15.12.2014 This year’s Christmas party at the IFEU provided the suitably festive setting to bid farewell to the current executive directors stepping down and to welcome the new executive board. Markus Duscha and Jürgen Giegrich had been at the helm of the IFEU for about five years. Now they look forward to a break from primarily administrative duties and the return to their scientific roots at the IFEU. "You have done a brilliant job. Under your leadership, the IFEU substantially expanded its staff and diversified in topics. Our most heartfelt thanks for that", Bernd Franke applauded the parting directors while the entire IFEU staff expressed their appreciation. At the same time, the new executive board – Andreas Detzel, Lothar Eisenmann and Dr. Martin Pehnt – were given a warm welcome. "Come 1st of January 2015, it will be your turn. Together, you are looking at more than 50 years of experience at the IFEU, so you’ll know what to expect. You have prudently divided the workload of the executive management so that it will be in able hands. We wish you the best of luck!"

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Blue Angel for Printed Products


10.12.2014 On their annual meeting on December 9th 2014 the independent "Jury Umweltzeichen" adopted the new German environmental label "Blue Angel" for printed products. Under the guidance of oekom Verlag München, IFEU Heidelberg and Ökopol Hamburg, in partnership with "Frankfurter Buchmesse" developed - under active involvement of the stakeholders - criteria for low-emission and natural resources sparing printing products.

The core criteria are

  • the only use of "Blue Angel" UZ14 und UZ72 certified recycled paper
  • restriction of VOC-emissions in the print shop
  • use of mineral oil free and low-polluting links
  • imperative of high grade recyclability of the used products
  • need of energy- and waste management in the print shop

For the first time digital and rotogravure printing was included in the awarding criteria.

More information ... (Website BMUB, in German)

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Successful kick-off of Rapid Planning in Kigali, Rwanda


29.11.2014 The first field mission of nine scientists to Kigali as part of the 5-year research project Rapid Planning was coordinated by Bernd Franke (IFEU). Rapid Planning targets the sustainable development of urban growth centers in Africa and Asia and is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research BMBF. The initial focus in Ruanda’s capital Kigali (pop. 1.2 million) is the upgrading of Agatare, an 80 hectare informal settlement area with 3,000 households. There, the trans-sectoral approach of Rapid Planning supports ongoing local efforts with the goal to develop suitable infrastructure improvement options. The IFEU team is responsible for the development of a material flow assessment tool and the local coordination of 12 research organizations in close collaboration with the City of Kigali, Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure and the University of Rwanda.

More information …

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GBEP-Indicators for Sustainable Bioenergy


Cover of the Report14.11.2014 The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) as a globally relevant intergovernmental platform adopted a set of 24 indicators to assess and monitor the sustainability of modern bioenergy. The indicators shall provide a tool for policy-makers and other stakeholders that informs on the development of the bioenergy sector and that allows monitoring the impact of related policies and programs.

The indicators are now being pilot tested in different countries. The pilot testing in Germany is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and assigned to IFEU in cooperation with IINAS (Darmstadt). Its objective is to assess the feasibility of evaluating the 24 indicators in Germany. The assessment reveals which of the indicators are difficult to be applied and where the methodologies may need adaptation. A focus is put on describing deficits and on deriving proposals on how to deal with them. These lessons learned are mirrored back into the GBEP process. The recently released report has been presented at the GBEP-meeting on 12 November 2014 in Rome.

More information ...

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Dr. Ulrich Höpfner was appointed Honorary Chairman of IFEU


Foto Dr. Hoepfner27.10.2014 In October 2014, the scientific board of IFEU and its shareholder meeting appointed Dr. Ulrich Höpfner, one of the founders and long-time executive director of the Institute, honorary chairman. This made him not only the first emeritus in the meanwhile 36-year-old history of the Institute, but also the first employee to whom this title had been awarded. Markus Duscha, current executive director, is pleased to be able to honor the dedicated scientists in this way: "The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research would not be what it is today, without Ulrich Höpfner. We have to thank him a lot!" Ulli, as his friends and colleagues call him, was executive director of IFEU and member of its scientific board from 1978 – 2009. He was also the scientific director of the department "Transport and Environment".

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