Experts from nova introduced: Roland Essel

Deputy Managing Director, Head of Sustainability Department

Dipl.-Environmental scientist Roland Essel has been working at nova-Institute as staff scientist since 2011; in 2013 he became head of the sustainability department and now started the new year 2016 as Deputy Managing Director. He is involved in different national and international research projects concerning the methodological development of sustainability evaluations of bio-based and CO2-based products. Furthermore, he provides sustainability consultancy for the industry by means of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and SUstainability Integrated TEchnology Development (SUITED).

Background and expertise:

Essel, Roland_MG_4151 KopieRoland Essel studied environmental sciences at the Universities of Trier and Karlsruhe, Germany. He was awarded scholarships of the Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci programme and gained international experience at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, as well as the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Bangor, Wales. Roland Essel graduated from the University of Trier in 2010 with a thesis about the eco-efficiency of economic sectors in Europe. He started his career as a consultant for the Taurus Eco Consulting GmbH. He continued as a research assistant at the chair of environmental accounting at the University of Technology in Dresden. In May 2011 he joined the nova-Institute for ecology and innovation as project manager. Today, he is the head of the sustainability department with four professional LCA experts. Starting 1 January 2016, Roland will also take the lead as Deputy Managing Director of nova-Institute.

His field of expertise covers life cycle assessment (LCA), system analysis and modelling (sensitivity & scenario analysis) of environmental impacts. He is responsible for national and international projects as well as industrial and political consultancy in the field of environmental evaluation of bio-based and CO2-based products. Some of his recent interests include

  • the evaluation of innovative production processes to optimise their environmental performance within multiple feedback loops during the technological development phase (SUITED-approach)
  • the identification of hot spots of environmental concern during the value chain of bio-based products (hot spot analysis) and
  • the development of quantification procedures for the cascading use of biomass (biomass utilisation factor, BUF).

Roland was speaker on several international conferences. He is member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and active in the CEN TC 411 working group on bio-based products. He is author and co-author of various articles concerning the environmental evaluation of bio-based plastics as well as reviewer of various international journals (e.g. Journal of Industrial Ecology).

Selected projects:

  • “OekoStoff – Deriving recommendations for the implementation and political valorisation of life cycle assessments for the material use of biomass considering the case examples of bio- based plastics and the cascading use of wood“ for the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture Germany (FKZ: 22007014): 07/2015 – 12/2016
  • “PULP2VALUE – Processing Underutilised Low value sugarbeet Pulp into VALUE added products”. EU Horizon 2020 grant agreement No. 669105: 07/2015 – 06/2019
  • “MIRACLES – Multi-product Integrated bioRefinery of Algae: from Carbon dioxide and Light Energy to high-value Specialities“. EU FP7 grant agreement no 613588: 11/2013 – 10/2017
  • “Study on the optimised cascading use of wood”. The project is funded by the European Commission under service contract 30-CE-0677561/00-43: 04/2015 – 04/2016

Selected publications:

Selected oral presentations:

  • “Environmental performance of bio-based polymers: Bringing LCA down to earth” (From Biobased Polymers to Bioplastics – An interface between R&D and applications, Centre de ressources technologiques en chimie (CERTECH), Brüssel, 28.05.2013-29-05-2013); R. Essel
  • “Food crops for Industy: Background information and surprising answers” (Biorefinery for Food & Fuels & Materials (BFF 2013), Wageningen University, Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research, Wageningen, 07-04-2013-10-04-2013); R. Essel
  •  “Bio-based plastics for the packaging industry: A question of environmental concern?” (The Packaging And Converting Executive Forum (PACE), Prag, 14-02-2013); R. Essel
  • “Leveraging LCA for a new bioplastic resin or plasticizer” (4th Annual Next Generation Bio-based Chemicals Summit, Infocast, San Diego, 28-01-2013); R. Essel
  • “Life cycle assessment of hemp fibre production and hemp products in Europe – including comparison to other natural fibres” (14th General Meeting of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), nova-Institut GmbH, Hürth, 28-11-2013); R. Essel


nova-Institut GmbH, 2016-01-12.


nova-Institut GmbH


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