Research interests

My fields of interest are Sustainability, Sustainability assessment, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Biobased materials.

 

I currently work on the following research projects:am currently working on the following research projects:

- LCA of biobased materials with focus on plastic additives (colorants, flame retardants, etc.)
- LCA of textile applications
- Models for integrating LCA, Circular Economy and SDGs
- Models for integrating good health and well-being (SDG 3) in LCA
- Models for addressing good health and well-being (SDG 3) for the occupants of buildings

- Greenwashing and responsible consumption and production (SDG 12)
- Sustainable decision making

 

Project: Curcol

Aim: The Interreg NWE project CurCol aims to demonstrate economic potential for the production chains from regionally produced plants to colorants in packaging. The project assesses three pilots for colorant production and application in plastic and paper packaging, by defining barriers, business cases and action plans. The focus of CurCol is on the yellow natural colorant curcuma.

Timeline: 01.09.2020 – 31.08.2023

Project: Pure Nature: 100% biobased (BB100)
Aim: The main goal of the BB100 project is the development of a process chain towards fully biobased man-made fiber materials. This does not only include the mere processing of biopolymers, but also commonly used additive materials like plasticizers, flame retardants, colorants and nucleation agents. Fully biobased yarns and textile demonstrators will be developed.

Timeline: 01.01.2018 – 31.12.2021

 

Thesis: Sustainability assessment of biobased colorants

Description: Master thesis in Biobased Materials “Sustainability assessment of biobased colorants in the textile value chain” by Matilde della Fontana, Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM), Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands

Role: Examiner and supervisor

Aim: This thesis aims at assessing the sustainability of biobased colorants by studying two different biobased dyes and spin dyeing as an alternative processing method. Toward that, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) will be used as a sustainability assessment method by taking into account different life cycle phases, with special attention on the extraction of biobased colorants. No previous study has investigated biobased colorants from a sustainability point of view and the findings of this comprehensive research would highlight valuable aspects of their advantages, drawbacks and areas for improvement.

Timeline: 26.10.2020 – 18.06.2021

Thesis: Sustainable pre-fabricated composite housing

Description: PhD thesis in in Engineering, MIT-Portugal Program “Leaders for Technological Industries” with focus on “Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing”, Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto (FEUP) in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Porto, Portugal & Cambridge, MA, United States

Role: PhD researcher

Aim: This thesis aims to develop a sustainable pre-fabricated sheltering and housing solution for developing countries in Africa. Toward this aim, after an initial material screening, defining criteria for material selection and performing relevant tests and analyses, a multi-criteria decision analysis is performed to identify the optimum solution. Subsequently, a building design of the proposed materials (sandwich-structure composite) is compared with a typical masonry building i terms of environmental impacts. After thermal analysis of this building, the impact of different passive cooling techniques is investigated in terms of indoor air temperature and thermal comfort of the occupants. By identifying the most effective solution of each technique, their combination is assessed to attain an optimized design. Next, the implementation of the proposed building is evaluated in rural areas of Nairobi by determining two levels of energy demand and required cooling and heating energy. The feasibility of energy self-sufficiency is then investigated by designing a stand-alone photovoltaic system. Moreover, the impact of supply of load probability on required power of photovoltaic (PV) array is studied by evaluating different PV technologies. The designed system is then compared with an alternative grid extension to evaluate the environmental benefits of this solution. Finally, the life cycle cost of the proposed building is evaluated and compared with a comparable masonry building throughout their life cycle. Different sensitivity analyses are also performed to assess the influence of parameters such as construction cost, climate and discount and inflation rates. The results demonstrate that the proposed building is a sustainable, passive and energy selfsufficient sheltering and housing solution and that these new technologies can be used to significantly improve the lives of a large number of people and communities.

Timeline: 01.09.2011 – 22.09.2016