Institute for Process Metallurgy and Metal Recycling (IME)


Presentation of the Institute

The IME is engaged in applied research and teaching in the fields of extractive metallurgy (pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy), metal refining and electrolysis, and recycling of metals from diverse waste streams. At IME, processes are designed and further developed with optimized use of resources and taking into account critical waste streams (circular economy).

  Copyright: © IME RWTH Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h. c. Bernd Friedrich

"In a Circular Economy, recycling is the last line of defense to prevent material loss once all other options have been exhausted. To that end, we have to develop flexible, robust and intelligent processes, which will be able to deal with tomorrow’s complex waste streams."

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h. c. Bernd Friedrich

  Research Activities of the IME Institute. First, recycling metallurgy and material pre-treatment; second, material processing and production of high purity and complex alloys; third, special processes for technological metals and Rare Earth Elements; fou Copyright: © IME RWTH Research activities at the IME Institute

Metals are the foundation of a highly technological society. From ICT to transport and infrastructure, from consumer goods to industry, metals are found everywhere. The international team of the IME Institute focuses its work on two main aspects to make the metal industry more sustainable and circular. First, on process design, developing new technology to make the metal production cleaner and more sustainable, especially by using green carbon neutral reducing agents. Second, on metal recycling, ensuring the recovery of base and precious metals, as well as critical raw materials from complicated waste streams like batteries, WEEE and consumer aluminum.

Through this broad expertise in metallurgy, IME aims at providing sustainable and long-term solution for metal recycling and circular economy.


For the relevant projects of the institute please click on this link

Website of the Institute



Karl Bernhard Friedrich

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h. c.


+49 241 80 95850