Material Flow Management

Course Aim

The aim of the course is to highlight anthropogenic metabolic processes and analyze the resulting material flows using established balancing methods. Course participants acquire the skills to assess materials or goods systematically, as well as to describe, evaluate and balance regional and commercial mass flows based on current and future circumstances. Focusing on sustainable development, the students learn to plan and integrate alternative concepts in communal infrastructure projects. Furthermore, they become acquainted with essential aspects of logistical and organizational procedures in resources management.

General Information

  • Course responsability: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Eckhard Kraft
  • Teacher: Dr.-Ing. Thomas Haupt
  • Advanced course within the waste management specialisation: 6 ECTS with 4 SWS
  • the course is held in each summer semester
  • Examination: Written exam for 120 Minutes (75%) + seminar paper (25%)

Course Content

The course focuses on:

  • Introduction in environmental history and resource related conflicts
  • Natural and anthropogenic cycles
  • Tools and methods for material flow analysis, evaluation and management (material flow balancing, LCA, growth and predictive models)
  • Data visualization using GIS and Sankey diagrams
  • Description and assessment of material flows at different levels (raw material, product, manufacturer, manufacturing network, region)
  • Critical evaluation of sustainable product chains and regional value added, presentation of sustainable development concepts (permaculture, Agenda 21, Transition Town)
  • Material flows and logistics in resources management (glass, paper, plastics, packaging, biowaste, sewage sludge, WEEE, mineral construction waste)
  • Extra: micropollutants in marine systems (issue, extent, causes, entry paths) 


  • Wietschel (2002): Stoffstrommanagement. ISBN-13: 978-3631392225
  • Brunner and Rechberger (2003): Practical handbook of material flow analysis. (Advanced Methods in Resource and Waste Management Series), ISBN-13: 978-1566706049
  • Weizsäcker et al. (2010): Faktor Fünf: Die Formel für nachhaltiges Wachstum. ISBN-13: 978-3426274866