Main research acitivities

Raw materials recovery

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)

2017-2020 TOP WORLD RESEARCHER (first position of reported 500 researchers by SciVal), for the research topic about Waste Incineration; Municipal Solid Waste; Carbonation

EIT Raw Materials prize (2022)

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 two parameters: embodied energy (EE) and carbon footprint (or CO2 footprint) (CF). The choice is based on the consideration that two of the typical LCA impact indicators are global warming potential and energy consumption. These parameters must be considered for all life cycle phases of a product/process and they have the capability to be understood by most of the public. The ESCAPE tool has several potentialities: it was designed to be mainly used as 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; it allows to evaluate the EE and CF regarding the single steps of a specific process, with the possibility to identify the highest-energy-consuming parts also in view of possible efforts to revise processes needing the higher energy intensity; finally the results allow to better address the research towards more competitive process and discard the less promising ones.

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