Department of Science, Technology and Society (STS) / Copernicus Institute - Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Description of the Dpt. of Science, Technology and Society (STS) / Copernicus Institute:

The Department of Science, Technology and Society at Utrecht University (UU) is part the department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and is one of the four groups constituting the Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation. ( The Department of Science, Technology and Society (STS, ~40 employees, conducts disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research and provides education on science and technology for sustainable development, with the major part of the research efforts being focused on energy, materials and their environmental and economic implications. An important part of the departments activities deals with the process industries (esp. chemical industry) and its products. Within the chemical sector, the key topics are novel bio-based polymers and chemicals, nanostructured polymers and the assessment of petrochemical processes.

Description of the polysaccharide research activities

The department has many years of experience in determining and assessing both the potentials of and the barriers to new technologies with respect to energy and material use, and the related environmental and economic impacts (techno-economic analyses). To this end, a wide the range of methods is applied, reaching from pre-engineering process analyses, via life cycle assessment (LCA) and economic analyses up to region-wide scenario analyses. The department has recently prepared LCA studies on composites of starch with natural fibres, on cellulose fibres, on high-performance packaging films (made of bio-based and conventional materials) and on nanocomposites of bio-based polymers versus petrochemical polymers.

Main pieces of equipments

Various tools for flowsheeting, life cycle assessment (SimaPro), tailored tools for energy analysis and economic analysis; various databases.


Dr. Martin Patel


Phone: +31 (0) 30 253 7634 Fax: +31 (0) 30 253 7601

Address: Department of Science, Technology and Society (STS) / Copernicus Institute Heidelberglaan 2 NL-3584 CS Utrecht Netherlands