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ESR 14

ESR 14
Environmental assessment modelling of plastic flows – the role of additives in circularity

  • TITLE: Environmental assessment modelling of plastic flows – the role of additives in circularity

  • HOST: Technical University of Denmark (Denmark)

  • MAIN SUPERVISORS: Prof. dr. T. Astrup, dr. A. Damgaard (DTU)

  • CO-SUPERVISOR: Prof. dr. Steven De Meester (UG)

  • START DATE: 01.04.2020

  • DURATION: 36 months

  • REQUIRED DEGREE: Candidates should have a two year Master’s degree or a degree corresponding to this. The degree must be within Engineering or Science. A specialization in resource management, polymer science or product development is preferred.


    • The applicant must have analytical skills, research potential, be well-organized and enterprising and possess good interpersonal skills needed to collaborate with other university departments, authorities and private companies. The applicant must master spoken and written English.

    • The candidate should have existing knowledge of Material Flow Analysis and Life Cycle Assessment as well as previous experience with data collection and processing, assessment of data quality and uncertainty, and preferably concrete experiences with modelling in MFA/LCA software.

    • The preferred candidate also has laboratory experiences, in particular within material and/or waste characterization, as well as lab investigations on material functionality. This includes representative sampling, sample processing, physico-chemical analysis, material property testing and evaluation. Experience with analysis of material production processes as well as waste management, waste technologies and waste system analysis will be prioritized.


    • The PhD includes the following activities: literature review, methodology development, experimental research, writing of articles, teaching, courses, dissemination of research at workshops and conferences.

    • The main activities will take place in the section of Residual Research Engineering at the DTU department of Environmental Engineering. The starting point for the work is modelling oriented in a system perspective, but lab activities may be relevant either directly by the candidate or through analysis of lab generated data.

  • OBJECTIVES: The objective is to map the flows of polymers in Europe and investigate the role that substances in the materials can have for circularity. The first aim is to map current plastic flows with a focus on key substances that can be detrimental to recycling. The second aim is to model selected scenarios in MFA and LCA to assess how the use and management of additives within the process-chain can be improved in order to increase the circularity and recycling of plastic products.  

  • PLANNED SECONDMENTS: Additives and use of additives in plastic products will be evaluated in collaboration with AVL. Potential strategies and options for replacement of additives for improved circularity will be carried out in collaboration with UG.

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