Applied research for a sustainable economy and society

Research at Fraunhofer IIS generates a host of solutions – from individual components to entire systems – that will help achieve a sustainable economy and society.

Fraunhofer IIS works to produce innovations that benefit society and strenthen both the German and the European economy. An important task here is to ease the transition to sustainable forms of value creation.

With our roots in microelectronics and our expertise in a broad range of technologies, methods, and processes, we are able to deliver a host of solutions in this field, ranging from individual components to entire systems.


Specifically, our activities cover the following areas:

  • Development of energy-efficient electronics and computer hardware (green ICT)
  • Research into data-efficient, energy-efficient algorithms for signal processing and AI (green ICT)
  • Research into circuitry, algorithms, and new systems to enable a resource-conserving optimization of processes – in fields such as data management, logistics, and agriculture (green by ICT)
  • Development of new business models for a sustainable economy and society

For our partners and customers alike, these solutions help ease the transition toward sustainable value creation by enabling them to focus on key data and thereby

  1. Operate more sustainably on the economic, ecological, and social level 
  2. Obtain all the latest performance indicators so as to meet, for example, sustainability reporting requirements

Institute directors share their outlook

Green ICT and sustainable AI applications are key to securing Europe’s technological sovereignty.

Green ICT

Executive director Albert Heuberger discusses the development of electronics for energy-efficient information and communications technology.

Sustainable AI applications

In a statement, institute director Alexander Martin explains how Europe can secure technological sovereignty – and how sustainable AI applications can play a key role in this.

The following projects focus on sustainable solutions

Sustainable hardware

Green ICT

As the energy consumption of information and communications technology continues to rise, we are investigating new computer architectures and zero power solutions. At the same time, it is vital that green ICT should have a long operating life and be energy-efficient and conserve resources in both production and use.

More about Green ICT

© Henk Vrieselaar -

Neuromorphic hardware

AI algorithms are extremely energy-hungry. This, however, runs counter to the goal of lowering CO2 emissions. One possible solution is to use neuromorphic hardware, which is designed to emulate neural networks – a key part of AI systems – and their processing performance in a way that is as energy-efficient as possible. In addition, neuromorphic hardware makes it possible to run AI algorithms at the edge – i.e., locally and therefore in proximity to sensors. In turn, this reduces the consumption of energy otherwise required for data transmission to the cloud.

More about neuromorphic hardware

© zapp2photo -

Data capture and transmission 

mioty in agriculture

Developed by the joint research group FutureIOT along with Fraunhofer IIS, mioty solutions for agriculture enable the continuous, spatially resolved recording of soil parameters. This helps farmers monitor soil quality in an easy, time-saving, and cost-effective manner, while also enabling them to meet the reporting requirements of regulatory authorities. In turn, this cuts fertilizer use to the exact amount required, helps prevent nitrate pollution, and ensures that water is used intelligently and sparingly so as to conserve this increasingly scarce resource. 

More about mioty in agriculture

© Fraunhofer IIS / Paul Pulkert

mioty – energy-efficient communications technology

This exceptionally efficient data-transmission technology helps ensure effective condition monitoring and predictive maintenance in many areas of the IoT, including Industry 4.0, smart cities, and smart buildings.   

More about mioty – wireless LPWAN technology

© Fraunhofer IIS/Kurt Fuchs

An enabling technology for autonomous driving

Only the across-the-board use of V2X communication will enable an efficient and appropriate control of traffic flows and prevent congestion. V2X technology is a keystone of autonomous driving, along with car sharing and other associated mobility concepts. It will not only enhance road safety but also help prevent accidents altogether.

More about V2X, an enabling technology for autonomous driving


© Fraunhofer IIS

Energy-efficient communication networks

A key aim of the future 6G wireless communications standard is to reduce the amount of energy consumed by networks. AI algorithms are set to play an important role here, as is the development of efficient algorithms and transmission methods.

More about energy-efficient communication networks

© Fraunhofer IIS

Energy-efficient distribution of data in mobility applications

High-performance data links – both in the vehicle itself and between the vehicle and its surroundings – are a key technology for cars of the future. Whenever the same data has to be transferred to a large number of users, digital broadcasting remains the method of choice. Not only does it save energy and trim data volume, but it also makes sparing use of bandwidth, which is in short supply.

More about energy-efficient distribution of data in mobility applications

© Sergey Nivens -

Data analytics


Data analytics and new business models for a data-driven circular economy

Whenever products are reused, sustainability increases, since resources are conserved and energy consumption is often reduced. Data analytics and new business models such as smart product service systems (sPSS) can play a key role in increasing resource efficiency and closing material cycles. In order to improve ecological sustainability, it is vital to make purposeful use of product and process data. Our contribution here involves the use of methods from (1) forecasting for remanufacturing and (2) inventory control for manufacturing.

More about data analytics and new business models for a data-driven circular economy

© Nataliya Hora -

Green transport logistics

The continuing strong growth of road freight is a major burden on infrastructure and the environment, and creates traffic problems as well. Placing transport logistics on a more sustainable footing calls for both a reduction in the currently roughly 151 million empty runs each year, by consolidating delivery orders and existing transport networks, and the transfer of freight to rail, by making handling more efficient in combined transport (CT) terminals.

Reference projects: 

© Fraunhofer IIS / THATREE -


Phenotyping is a method of identifying plants that will deliver a sufficient yield in conditions such as higher temperatures as a result of the climate crisis.

More about phenotyping

© Fraunhofer IIS/Anestis Aslanidis

Using X-ray technology to sort and recycle

Fraunhofer EZRT is investigating dual-energy methods as a means of reliably identifying and sorting raw materials. These methods make use of the different attenuation coefficients exhibited by different materials. 

More about the use of X-ray technology to sort and recycle

© Siberia -


Energy Control

Increasing diversification in the energy market poses fundamental challenges for grid operators as well as the state and society as a whole. To keep our energy infrastructure from being overloaded and ensure it is used efficiently, we are pursuing two lines of research. On the one hand, we are looking at ways of forecasting as accurately as possible the demand for power and heat in Germany on various levels and over different time horizons. On the other, we aim to use mathematical methods to optimize and efficiently control the use of different sources of energy in the industrial sector.

More about energy control

© MEV-Verlag, Germany

Energy harvesting

Energy harvesting can eliminate the need to use power cables or recharge batteries in mobile devices. Instead, vibrations from equipment, machinery, and buildings – or, alternatively, the temperature gradient between pipes, radiators, and valves and their immediate surroundings – can be used to generate electricity to power small electronic systems.  

More about energy harvesting – a standalone energy supply

© sdecoret -

Social sustainability


An employee-centric culture for sustainable organizations

New, sustainable processes in companies, sparked by technological advances and revised organizational goals, will also initiate a change process for employees. We use data-based methods to analyze and optimize processes and the work environment from an employee-centric perspective, and in this way to bring about a sustainable shift to a green and social corporate culture. 

Reference projects:

© peshkova -

Find out more

The latest insights from our series on sustainability in the Fraunhofer IIS online magazine

We keep you updated about all our solutions for a more sustainable economy and society. Our magazine series on sustainability showcases new projects, features the latest approaches, and presents our experts working in this field.

Fraunhofer IIS as a responsible organization and committed employer

Fraunhofer IIS has shouldered its responsibility as an organization from the moment it was founded. Find out more about what sets us apart as a responsible employer.  

Fraunhofer strategic research fields

research portfolio. Research and development are a driving force behind sustainable value creation.

Corporate responsibility at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is committed to promoting corporate responsibility in a wide range of areas – from responsible management and employee-oriented HR policies to a sparing use of resources, ethical and scientifically responsible behavior, compliance with social and environmental standards in the supply chain, and regional community outreach.