Sustainability of materials

The Sustainability of materials research group investigates the sustainability of materials over their entire life cycle. The mission of the team is to provide suitable methods, metrics, tools, and accurate sustainability assessments of materials to guide the transition from a fossil-based economy to a biobased economy and from a linear to a circular economy.


Consistent and full sustainability assessments are needed to evaluate and enhance the sustainability performance of materials. It is important to address multiple sustainability issues at the same time over the full life cycle of a material, to avoid shifting (instead of improving) sustainability impacts. The multidisciplinary research team uses and advances environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), LCA-derived methodologies and other quantitative approaches to investigate the environmental, economic and social impact of materials. The applied LCA methodologies include attributional and consequential LCA, Life Cycle Costing, Social LCA, and Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment.

The projects of the team focus on different parts of the materials value chain, from the resources and their supply chain, to the production of materials, different applications and end-of-life scenarios. The main areas of research are:

  • Materials made from renewable resources: biobased materials
  • Greener production routes for manufacturing of materials and chemical intermediates
  • Sustainable materials applications
  • Materials with improved end-of-life scenarios to prevent waste generation: circular materials



    The ZCORE project (from seaweed to coating resins applications) brings together the relevant companies (SMEs) and knowledge partners in the field of seaweed production and refining (Zeeland), bio-aromatics production (Nord-Brabant) and in the field of coatings and sustainability (Limbourg).
    LIBERATE aims to realize the first pilot scale plant for the so-called ‘lignin-first’ approach, a novel route produce not only cellulose, but also an aromatic oil directly from woody biomass.
    Accelerating the use of recyclable multilayer food packaging for the transition to a circular economy.
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a versatile technique to quantify environmental impacts and compare different products and technologies.
  • FibreNet
    The common goal is finding comprehensive solutions to improve and tailor the properties of fibre products.
  • Pure Nature: 100% biobased (BB100)
    The main goal of the BB100 project is the development of a process chain towards fully biobased man-made fibre materials.


  • BBM1001 Biobased Materials, Master Biobased Materials
  • BBM1001 and MSB1001 skills training Academic Writing/ Proposal Writing
  • BBM1013 Sustainability of Biobased Materials, Master Biobased Materials
  • INT3005 Biobased Materials, Maastricht Science Programme
  • INT1001 Introduction to Liberal Arts and Sciences, Maastricht Science Programme
  • Supervision of Bachelor thesis projects Maastricht Science Programme
  • Supervision of Capstone and MARBLE projects University College Maastricht
  • Chemelot InSciTe education and training online course “Life Cycle Assessment: Basic Principles and Uses” for academics and professionals

Further Information

Materials for a Sustainable Society

Head of the Sustainability of biobased materials-group Associate. prof. Yvonne van der Meer tells about materials for a sustainable society.