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Jo Dewulf

Promotor Circular Economy Policy Research Centre


Circular economy is a key path towards responsible production and consumption, one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030


Jo Dewulf (°18/7/1969) works with at the Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Ghent University, Belgium. He focuses on clean production with a focus on resources, relying mainly on thermodynamic principles and life cycle thinking.

After engineering studies (maxima cum laude, 1992) and PhD (maxima cum laude, 1997) at Ghent University and post-doc research both at Ghent University and Delft University of Technology, he became assistant professor (2003), associate professor (2007) and full professor (2012) Environmental and Clean Technology at Ghent University. He was on leave for two years from his full professor position to join the European Commission - Joint Research Centre as senior scientist in the Sustainability Assessment Unit (2013-2015).

For his scientific work, he obtained the prize of the laureate of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Belgium in 2008. In the early stages of his research, he concentrated on environmental analytical methodologies and on advanced oxidation technologies as end-of-pipe techniques.

Now for about 20 years, he heavily focuses on clean technology, i.e. searching for preventive actions within production processes themselves. To do so, he makes thorough analyses at the process, plant and overall industrial system level, based on life cycle thinking and thermodynamic principles in order to find out opportunities for improvement (techniques: Exergy Analysis: EA; Exergetic Life Cycle Analysis: ELCA). Apart from methodological improvements, implementations and collaborations with industrial partners have been put in practice in three areas: fine chemicals and pharma, agro/bio/food, and secondary and primary raw materials.

Work has been done with institutions, e.g. EU KIC EIT Raw Materials, EC-DG JRC, Flanders public materials management authority OVAM ... Equally with individual firms research has been undertaken, e.g. with Johnson&Johnson-Janssen Pharmaceutica, Oleon, Organic Waste Systems, Syral, Indaver, Umicore, Solvay, Arcelor and others. His team is also partner of the Flemish Policy Research Center on Sustainable Materials Management 'Circular economy' and runs several projects within the Horizon 2020 programme (RePair, Glopack …) and EU KIC EIT Raw materials (SSIC, SUPRIM …). Since his involvement with the European Commission, he further concentrates on the sustainable use of natural resources, e.g. resource efficiency, resource criticality, integrated sustainability assessment, and use of secondary resources. It is in this context that his expertise, i.e. life cycle and thermodynamics based sustainability analysis at process, plant and cradle-to-gate level is of value in developing and assessing new technologies.

He is member of the OG EIP Raw Materials (EC) and of the International Roundtable Criticality. The work has been also oriented towards southern countries, with finished and running MSc and PhD projects in collaboration with Cuba, Chile, Brazil, Kenya, Vietnam...

His work is visible on the international scene, with more than 230 papers in international peer reviewed journals included in the Web of Science (Science Citation Index Expanded only), with about 6000 citations and an h-index of 42. See at for a bibliography. He assisted to several international conference organisations and international journals, e.g. serving at the RCR editorial board. In 2016, the second Wiley book he edited is published: Sustainability Assessment of Renewables-Based Products: Methods and Case Studies.

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