Main research activities: eco-materials and sustainability

Recovery of strategic materials from Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) 

We have proposed a new technology that can stably contribute to securing strategic metals from spent LIBs, addressed to substitute conventional pyrometallurgical processes. This work shows the feasibility of a new MW treatment (Italian patent n. 102022000002351. PCT/IB2023/051034) 

See our Advance Article paper about a microwave-enhanced method able to substitute traditional pyrometallurgy for the future of metals supply from spent lithium-ion batteries, obtaining the COVER OF THE Journal: Resources, Conservation & Recycling, volume 194, 2023

The technology was highlighted by several newspapers and presented in two invited lectures to international congresses on WASTE RECOVERY: (Bergamo Italy) (Coimbra Portugal)

EIT Raw Materials prize (2022)

Recovery of Phosphorous from sewage sludge ash and poultry litter ash

Recycling and recovery of critical resources from anthropogenic waste is a priority goal, that can be promoted by green chemistry principles. In this frame, I devote great attention to the zero waste strategy, with the aim of reducing the amount of waste materials that are landfilled by promoting overall responsible materials management. In this frame, my research activities concern raw materials recovery (for example phosphorous from biomass ash, metals from spent lithium-ion batteries, and silica) from waste. 

See our Advance Article paper published on Green Chemistry about a new breakthrough in the P recovery from sewage sludge ash by thermochemical processes, cited by the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP)!divAbstract

This work was highlighted by Science for Environment Policy, that is the news and information service published by Directorate-General Environment, European Commission.

Sustainability evaluation by ESCAPE approach

A new simplified method to evaluate the sustainability of raw material substitution (2017 - Journal of Cleaner Production, 162 pp. 162-169) is proposed (ESCAPE approach) that allows to support small industries and public authorities in circular economy principles. It accounts for two parameters: embodied energy (EE) and carbon footprint (or CO2 footprint) (CF). It was designed to be mainly used as a screening tool, preliminary to LCA analysis, comparing recycling process alternatives; it can be used as a comparison with natural resources to verify if it is possible to find a recycling technology more convenient in comparison to the extraction of raw materials. See also the open acces publication of 2023: ESCAPE simplified approach designed to evaluate materials sustainability: The case of new adsorbent materials for activated carbon substitution

Azure Chemistry

I have called a chemistry approach that want to link Green Chemistry and Remediation “Azure Chemistry”: the goal is to restore or reconstruct the ecosystems by sustainable solutions in terms of energy, materials and emissions. Azure Chemistry concerns, for example, carbon dioxide sequestration, PM pollution reduction, waste minimisation, and energy neutrality. It requires low-energy paths, manufacturing and technologies reducing the use of non- renewable resources, and in which wastes and by-products are employed. Overall, Azure Chemistry approach must minimize the global impact of the remediation processes. Indeed, literature re- ports several examples of declared low-cost materials, synthesised for instance starting from wastes and by-products. In this frame we have developed the first sustainable material designed for air particulate matter (PM) capture.

For the projects related to my research activities see Projects webpage and publication list