Portrait of Andrea Di Maria

Since November 2022, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech's Biosystems Dynamics and Exchanges research axis has welcomed Andrea Di Maria as its first assistant. His career path has enabled him to specialize in product life cycle analysis (LCA), adding economic and social points of view to environmental aspects. This theme will be at the heart of the sustainability evaluation course he will be teaching next year.

In 2012, during his master's degree in environmental engineering at the University of Padua in Italy, Andrea Di Maria travelled to Luxembourg to write his dissertation on the life-cycle analysis of building construction waste. The thinking behind the LCA ( Life Cycle Analysis) process was of great interest to the Sicilian student, and he decided to make it the subject of his thesis in 2014. His work at the KU Leuven focuses on the use of LCA to evaluate strategies in the context of the circular economy.

The principle of LCA is to establish the environmental profile of a product or service, i.e. to assess its impacts on different environmental aspects at each stage of its life. This approach enables political decision-makers to make more informed decisions, taking into account elements such as natural resource consumption,CO2 emissions or soil, air and water pollution, when creating a project.


"For example, if Europe decides that a certain percentage of metals must be recycled in the manufacture of batteries for electric cars or cell phones, my job will be to analyze all the environmental impacts linked to the metal recycling system, to understand whether this decision has a real positive effect on the environment. The ultimate aim is always to avoid greenwashing!

What's more, alongside the issue of environmental protection, it's also very important to consider the socio-economic aspects." Dr. Andrea Di Maria

As his PhD comes to an end in 2018, Andrea Di Maria is extending his work in the Materials Engineering Department at KU Leuven through a 4-year postdoctoral fellowship. During this period, the young researcher is taking part in several European projects, contributing his expert opinion on the life cycle of technologies used in the life cycle of metals.

Among these projects, he was in charge of environmental analyses for a project targeting two mines in Sweden and Finland. The idea is to analyze mining waste to determine the metals it contains, and then develop technologies to extract the materials. Dr. Di Maria's role in this project is to draw up an environmental, economic and social balance sheet of the methods used, to determine the cost/benefit balance.

After nine years in Flanders, Andrea Di Maria joined the Faculty of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech as first assistant for the Biosystems Dynamics and Exchanges research axis, and saw an opportunity to apply his research to the living world. What interests him in this field is that it adds the human factor to ACLs. Indeed, in addition to the environmental aspect that is studied in a project, he wants social and economic issues such as the corruption index of the producing country or working conditions to be taken into account in the study, something that is rarely considered in the realization of an ACL.

It is with this in mind that, since 2022, Dr. Di Maria has been contributing his knowledge to research and also to the students of the Bachelor of Bioengineering (Block 3) in Environmental Sciences and Technologies in thesustainability assessment course he will soon be teaching. By teaching students the principle of LCA, he hopes to teach them not to stop at the end result, but to take a global view of things and their repercussions.

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