Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project "E³-Production"

E³ – efficient, emissions-neutral, ergonomic production

Against a background of competitiveness and social development (demographic change), and also of climate protection and conservation of resources, organizations have to meet the challenge not only of realizing resource- and energy-efficient processes and products, but also of producing in an overall sustainable, low-environmental-impact way under ergonomic conditions. This gives rises to three important pillars for the factory of the future: energy and resource efficiency, emission neutrality, and ergonomics (integration of people in production) – summarized as E3.


© Fraunhofer IGB
© Fraunhofer UMSICHT
Stakeholder Interaction Analysis model.

The lighthouse project “E3-production” addresses these three pillars and focuses, notably, on the design and implementation of ultra-short process chains, the operation of production systems that can adapt their use of energy and resources to a volatile energy supply, the establishing of closed-loop material cycles, and the use of production itself to store energy, including the integration of materials. With regard to the reduction of emissions, approaches being examined include completely closed-loop energy and material re-use cycles, and also the recovery of energy, culminating in self-regulated recycling. The project involves the collaboration of the Fraunhofer Institutes FIT, IBP, ICT, IFF, ILT, IML, IPA, IPK, IPT, IWU, UMSICHT and IGB.

IGB's contribution: Ultra-short process chains and sustainability analysis

Fraunhofer IGB is involved in two subprojects.

In the first, our contribution is the demonstration of ultra-short production processes used in biotechnology and process engineering, as shown by the example of a reactor concept for the bioprecipitation of metals. The concept has the aim of facilitating integration of the bioprecipitation process into existing process chains, while at the same time taking the required product quality into account. Featuring internal recycling and loop closure, it will thus contribute to overall resource efficiency.

In the subproject SUSPROFIT a practical, industry-specific evaluation system is being developed that identifies the sustainability risks and indicates options for action.

Project information

Project title

Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project "E³-Production"


Project duration

November 2013 – October 2016


Project partners

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT


The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft intends to strengthen Germany as a center for commerce by rapidly transforming original scientific ideas into marketable products through the Lighthouse Project initiative.

Fraunhofer lighthouse projects are geared toward providing German industry with concrete technologies capable of rapid commercialization.

With its rich fund of scientific expertise from a broad spectrum of fields, Fraunhofer is ideally placed to help industrial companies swiftly turn innovative ideas into marketable products.

In so doing, Fraunhofer seeks to focus on the current challenges facing industry, especially those with a strategic significance for the economy. By involving industrial partners at an early stage, Fraunhofer ensures that its research remains firmly grounded and focused on practical concerns.