WMJ Achten

WMJ Achten
Université Libre de Bruxelles | ULB · Institute for Environmental Management and Land-use Planning (IGEAT)

MSc, PhD

About

67
Publications
25,151
Reads
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4,306
Citations
Citations since 2017
1 Research Item
1713 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
Additional affiliations
October 2013 - present
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Description
  • Méthodes d’analyse et de gestion des impacts environnementaux (3 ECTS) Management environnemental (2 ECTS) Projet interdisciplinaire 2 (5 ECTS)
October 2006 - September 2013
KU Leuven
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (67)
Article
While there is a growing body of research investigating the technical feasibility and nutritional properties 25 of insect based feeds (IBFs), thus far little attention has been devoted to gauge the economic implications 26 of implementation. This study has investigated the economic performance of ex-ante modelled IBF 27 production systems operating...
Article
Full-text available
Small-scale Jatropha cultivation and biodiesel production has the potential of contributing to local development, energy security and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. In recent years however, the GHG mitigation potential of biofuel crops is heavily disputed due to the occurrence of a carbon debt, caused by CO2 emissions from biomass and soil after...
Article
Full-text available
Presently, climate metrics in life-cycle assessment (LCA) aggregate the emission of greenhouse gases in one impact-triggering instant, rather than accommodating its distribution along a timeline. There have been efforts to make the global warming potential (GWP) metric dynamic to study temporary carbon storage in wood products. In this article, we...
Article
Full-text available
The largest portion of a product’s environmental impacts and costs of manufacturing and use results from decisions taken in the conceptual design phase long before its market entry. To foster sustainable production patterns, applying life cycle assessment in the early product development stage is gaining importance. Following recent scientific stud...
Article
Full-text available
Wheat is an important commodity in Europe. With a production of 133 million tonnes per year and annual import and export accounting for 6.3 and 5.3 billion US$, respectively, wheat is the most important cereal in Europe. Wheat cultivation further feeds into a wide variety of products ranging from bread, over imitation meat, to biofuels and bio-base...
Article
Due to higher oil prices, abundance of labor and suitable land and its stable political climate, Tanzania attracted many investments in Jatropha. Although several studies on Jatropha's economic potential are available, its true economics are still uncertain. This paper aims to add to the growing body of knowledge on the socio-economic performance o...
Article
Jatropha has been promoted in sub-Saharan Africa as a smallholder energy crop promising additional revenue and energetic self-sufficiency. In this case-study located in Southern Mali we performed a comparative life cycle assessment shedding light on the influence of smallholder participation and yield fluctuations on the global warming potential, f...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper introduces the new FORMIT forest growth simulator, which is a climate-sensitive summary model framework developed for estimating forest gross primary productivity, net primary productivity (NPP), and net ecosystem exchange for different regions in Europe. The simulator consists of several sub-models which are either based on earlier mode...
Article
This study assesses for the first time the environmental sustainability of development organizations involved in North–South cooperation by quantifying the carbon footprint as a widely adopted indicator. Our objectives are to (1) analyze the criteria that should be met for correct greenhouse gas accounting of development organizations, (2) gain ins...
Article
This study reports on the carbon, water, and energy footprints of tomatoes grown in a greenhouse in Northern Italy and two possible future variations of heating and carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilization on the current setup. The heat supply in place, consisting of natural gas (NG) and canola oil combustion, is compared to cogeneration and incineration...
Article
Full-text available
Biofuel plants such as Jatropha curcas L. have potential to support the livelihoods of rural communities and contribute to sustainable rural development in Africa, if risks and uncertainties are minimized. Yet, recent papers have warned of the risk of biological invasions in such tropical regions as a consequence of the introduction of exotic biofu...
Article
Full-text available
It is not uncommon that new crops suddenly attract a lot and international attention from private and public actors based on their acclaimed potential to contribute to sustainable development. Such sharp increases in attention can lead to big investments and promotion campaigns to domesticate and commercialize these crops at industrial scale. Howev...
Article
Full-text available
The high oil content and suitable fatty acid composition of the seeds are two arguments to promote Jatropha curcas L. as a promising biodiesel crop. For seed yielding crops as J. curcas, it can be expected that successful pollination is a key process affecting oil yield and oil quality. Field experiments were conducted in Zambia to study the effect...
Article
In the light of global warming, this paper develops a framework to compare energy and transportation technologies in terms of cost-efficient GHG emission reduction. We conduct a simultaneous assessment of economic and environmental performances through life cycle costing and life cycle assessment. To calculate the GHG mitigation cost, we create ref...
Chapter
Full-text available
Forest biomass constitutes the major renewable energy source of the European Union (EU). With the EU Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) in place it will continue to play a dominant role in the substitution of fossil fuels in the decades to come. Considering the elevated cost for investments in solar, wind and geothermal, the National Renewable...
Article
Previous efforts to evaluate the climate change impact of researchers have focused mainly on transport related impact of conference attendance, and infrastructure. Because these represent only a part of the activities involved in the science making process this short note presents the carbon footprint of a complete science making process of one spe...
Article
Biofuel crops are promoted as a climate friendly alternative to fossil energy. Yet environmental risks such as potential biodiversity loss are not always adequately considered. This might occur directly as a consequence of land-use change from natural systems to biofuel plantations, but also through invasive behavior of the biofuel species, as it m...
Article
This article presents a life cycle assessment (LCA) on wheat gluten materials. Two objectives form the motivation for this paper. First, the study provides an assessment of the environmental impact of wheat gluten powder production. The aim of this contribution is to provide a base assessment which can feed into the evaluation of any future wheat-g...
Article
Full-text available
Although Jatropha curcas, an important tropical biofuel crop, is reputed for its drought resistance, its ability to perform under dry conditions has hardly been investigated. In a greenhouse experiment we investigated the plant–water relationships of Jatropha seedlings from different accessions under different levels of drought stress. There was li...
Article
Full-text available
In a greenhouse experiment we applied three levels of drought stress and monitored growth variables and biomass production of Jatropha curcas seedlings propagated from three seed accessions. We determined biomass allocation, allometric relationships and plant traits. Well-watered J. curcas seedlings grew 0.81 ± 0.15 cm day−1 in length and produced...
Article
Full-text available
Model simulations and experimental measurements were used to investigate the applicability of infrared thermography for the estimation of stomatal conductance and drought stress under sub-optimal meteorological conditions. The study focused on the stomatal conductance index Ig, calculated from the leaf temperature and the temperature of a dry and w...
Article
Abstract Jatropha curcas L. is a tropical tree grown on large scale as a potential biofuel seed crop. However, little information on the reproductive ecology of the species is available. This lack of knowledge makes it hard to predict yield. The higher number of male flowers than female flowers results in a very low yield. In this context, field e...
Article
Full-text available
Jatropha curcas L. is a tropical tree belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family with oil-rich seeds that are currently used as a source of biodisel. A better knowledge of the reproductive ecology is imperative for yield optimisation and invasiveness risk assessment. Insight in the diversity and movement of potential pollinators, forms an important aspe...
Article
Jatropha curcas L. produces seeds rich in non-edible oil suitable for biodiesel but it has been categorized as invasive. Although not scientifically verified, this allegation has resulted in a cultivation ban in several countries. In this article we report an integrated series of observations and experimental findings from invasiveness research in...
Article
Full-text available
Biofuels are receiving growing negative attention. Direct and/or indirect land-use changes that result from their cultivation can cause emissions due to carbon losses in soils and biomass and could negate any eventual greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction benefit. This paper evaluates the implications of land-use change emission on the climate-change miti...
Article
In addition to available country or site-specific life cycle studies on Jatropha biodiesel we present a generic, location-independent life cycle assessment and provide a general but in-depth analysis of the environmental performance of Jatropha biodiesel for transportation. Additionally, we assess the influence of changes in byproduct use and produ...
Article
One of the reasons why Jatropha curcas has recently been hailed as one of the world’s most sustainable biofuel crops, is its suitability to grow on arid land where it offers the additional benefit of erosion control. As arid lands are often very vulnerable to land use changes, it is nevertheless important to fully understand (belowground) plant fun...
Article
Full-text available
Biofuels are receiving growing negative attention. Direct and/or indirect land-use changes that result from their cultivation can cause emissions due to carbon losses in soils and biomass and could negate any eventual greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction benefit. This paper evaluates the implications of land-use change emission on the climate-change miti...
Article
Since 2003 India has been actively promoting the cultivation of Jatropha on unproductive and degraded lands (wastelands) for the production of biodiesel suitable as transportation fuel. In this paper the life cycle energy balance, global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential and land use impact on ecosystem quality is...
Article
Full-text available
Although acclaimed as a biofuel crop with high potential to sustainably replace fossil fuels, Jatropha curcas L. remains a poorly studied plant. Reliable yield assessments with conventional methods require agroclimatic and physiological knowledge, which is not yet available for Jatropha. To fill this gap, we tested a novel two-step approach integra...
Article
The use of palm oil as a biofuel has been heavily debated for its land-use conflict with nature and its competition with food production, being the number one cooking oil worldwide. In that context, we present a life cycle assessment of a palm oil production process yielding both biodiesel and cooking oil, incorporating the land-use impact and eval...
Chapter
Full-text available
The current "Jatropha hype" attracts large-scale investments in the cultivation of Jatropha curcas. This will mainly result in an expansion of large-scale monoculture plantations of the species. Ironically, the problems associated with such monocultures - problems of economic, social and environmental sustainability, along with pests, diseases and...
Article
Full-text available
Jatropha curcas L. attracts a lot of interest as a biofuel crop, triggering large investments and rapid expansion of cultivation areas, and yet, it should still be considered as a (semi-)wild, undomesticated plant. To use the full potential of Jatropha and to support further expansion and systematic selection, breeding and domestication are a prere...
Article
Full-text available
In their recent article, Gerbens-Leenes et al. (1) calculated the water footprint (WF), the amount of water required to produce 1 GJ of energy, of several bioenergy crops. The water footprint of Jatropha curcas was remarkably high (8.6 times higher than the WF of sugar beet, the most water-efficient crop), which may have serious implications for it...
Article
Full-text available
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) community is yet to come to a consensus on a methodology to incorporate land use in LCA, still struggling with what exactly should be assessed and which indicators should be used. To solve this problem we start from concepts and models describing how ecosystems function and sustain, in order to understand how land us...
Article
Full-text available
In their recent article, Gerbens-Leenes et al. (1) calculated the water footprint (WF, the amount of water required to produce 1 GJ of energy) of several bioenergy crops. One of the most remarkable findings of this study was the very high water footprint of this species, which has serious management consequences. However, these results are in app...
Article
Full-text available
The massive investment in new jatropha plantations worldwide is not sufficiently based on a profound scientific knowledge of its ecology. In this article, we define the climatic conditions in its area of natural distribution by combining the locations of herbarium specimens with corresponding climatic information, and compare these conditions with...
Article
Full-text available
The interest in using Jatropha curcas L. (JCL) as a feedstock for the production of bio-diesel is rapidly growing. The properties of the crop and its oil have persuaded investors, policy makers and clean development mechanism (CDM) project developers to consider JCL as a substitute for fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, JCL i...
Article
Full-text available
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) community is yet to come to a consensus on a methodology to incorporate land use in LCA. Earlier our research group presented a methodology based on the ecosystem exergy concept. The ecosystem exergy concept suggests that ecosystems develop towards more effective degradation of energy fluxes passing through the syste...
Article
Full-text available
Though gully erosion is often mentioned as a major process of land degradation in South Eastern Tanzania, little information is available on its distribution. The Makonde plateau and adjacent inland plains are of particular concern as they are densely populated and are major areas of cashew nuts production. The occurrence of gully erosion was asses...
Article
Jatropha curcas is a multipurpose, drought-resistant, biofuel tree originating from Central and South America, but now growing pantropic. The tree produces seeds containing 27–40% inedible oil, which is easily convertible into biodiesel. Although even some basic agronomic characteristics of J. curcas are not yet fully under-s-tood, the plant enjoys...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Various network governance constellations are being developed for the stimulation, co-creation and institutional anchorage of sustainability-oriented innovation and grassroots initiatives. Beyond this bright and mobilizing side of transitions governance, this project deliberately targets its crucial but hitherto relatively neglected counterpart of exnovation. How can the existing governance arrangements and regulatory frameworks in the Brussels Capital Region be supported in dealing with the sustainable economy transition and its exnovation challenges? To find more information about our research, please follow us on our website https://exnovation.brussels/ or on facebook https://www.facebook.com/GOSETEproject
Archived project
In this project, we studied the plant-water relations and global distribution of the biodiesel crop Jatropha curcas to assess the sustainability of its use by the bioenergy sector.
Archived project