Mapping and assessing technology catalysts that accelerate Circular Economy transition: multiple case study


This Master’s thesis studied technology catalysts that accelerate the Circular Economy transition. The objective was to identify the readiness level of different types of technology catalysts for the Circular Economy.

The research was conducted as a multiple case study, in which five technological areas from Tampere University were chosen as cases, the areas being bio-technology, manufacturing technology, construction technology, digital technology, and material technology. From each area, researchers involved in the research and development of the technologies were interviewed. Based on the interviews, the technologies were mapped based on whether they catalyze material recycling, reusing, or reduction. The technologies were also evaluated based on their technological readiness level.

Multiple technologies that catalyze the circular economy were identified, with differing technological readiness levels. For example, technology for recycling composites had already reached the level of market readiness, while reuse of concrete components was currently at the proof-of-concept stage. Generally, the study revealed that technologies that enable recycling were at a higher readiness level compared to technologies for reusing and reducing.

The study evaluated the readiness level of technological catalysts relevant in the CICAT2025-project. The results provide insights to firms implementing technological catalysts, public and private organizations financing the development of technological catalysts, and research and development organizations developing technological catalysts. The comparatively higher technological readiness level of recycling technologies highlights the necessity to consciously identify the development need for technological catalysts for reusing and reducing. Otherwise, there is a risk to rush implementation of recycling technologies already at high readiness level, with the expense of the development of other technological catalysts, that have high potential of being more valuable for circular economy long-term.

Author: Ahmed Eltayeb

Published: University of Tampere

Thesis (pdf)