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Circular Economy Research

Circular Economy Research

A circular economy aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times.

Today's economic model of "take, make, dispose" is reaching its physical limits and must be replaced. Resource scarcity, climate changes, waste accumulation and pollution are challenges that our society will face in the near future. A change towards circular economy will be crucial for value creation, economic growth and waste- and resource management in the coming decades. Circular economy provides solutions for how to create more value out of less resources and will provide vast opportunities for innovation and business creation for those who master circular economy.

Through our research on circular economy, SINTEF develops competence and technology through cross-disciplinary cooperation to assist our customers in creating their future business: Profitable and sustainable.

Senior Research Scientist
476 23 809

To ensure access to resources, we must ensure that products in circulation have the highest possible quality and retained value. The results of circular economy are: secure access to materials, new jobs, increased value creation and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. 

SINTEF has conducted a study for Enova in which we measured the effect of twelve circular economic strategies on greenhouse gas emissions. We estimate that between 6 - 10 Mt CO2 of total Norwegian emissions can be saved through the selected circular strategies analysed in this report alone, and with the possibility of further savings if Norway adopts a complete and comprehensive national circular economic model. Circular economy will also be a critical in building the anticipated infrastructure in a  low-emission society, such as solar, wind and hydrogen energy.

Here you can download the report

Research Areas


Through our focus on circular economy, SINTEF combine  technological expertise with economic and environmental expertise in order to provide our customers with multidisciplinary solutions. Important topics are development of optimization models combining technological possibilities with economic and  environmental effects, development of innovative business models and new forms of cooperation as well as developing the materials and technology of tomorrow.

Circular Technology

We develop and deliver solutions on recycling of metals, polymers and other materials, and on electromagnetic and X-ray sorting technologies.

  • Materials
  • Eco-Design
  • Sorting Technologies
  • Recycling Technologies
  • Digital Assets


Environmental impact of new solutions and business models are analysed through LCA and other industrial ecology tools.

  • LCA
  • Social LCA
  • Low-carbon procurement
  • Social-technical transition
  • Industrial ecology tools
  • Input-output analysis
  • Environmental product declaration


Value chain optimization for designing the best possible industry network including material flows, investments and logistics.

  • Organisational innovation
  • Regional economic models
  • Industrial symbiosis
  • Value chain optimisation
  • Materials flow
  • Contract design


Relevant information