Group Energy & Resources / Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development - Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Description of the group Energy & Resources / Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development:

The Group Energy & Resources at Utrecht University (UU) is part of Faculty of Geosciences and is one of the four groups constituting the Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development. ( The group of Energy & Resources (E&R, ~50 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 equipment

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


Dr. Li Shen

Email: l.shen at

Phone: +31 (0) 30 253 5505 Fax: +31 (0) 30 253 7601

Address: Group Energy and Resources / Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development Heidelberglaan 2 NL-3584 CS Utrecht Netherlands