Universiteit Hasselt - Knowledge in action


The research group Environmental Economics focuses on economic and sustainability assessments of environmental and energy technologies. Environmental issues are analyzed by extending neoclassical economic tools and principles. Using and developing ecological economic methodologies, environmental problems are addressed in an interdisciplinary way.
The research group Environmental  Economics is embedded within the Centre for Environmental Sciences (CMK). CMK is a research institute that opts for a well-balanced combination and symbiosis between environmentally related fundamental and applied research. The complexity of environmental issues requires multidisciplinarity. Therefore CMK incorporates 5 research groups (Environmental Biology; Biodiversity, phylogeny and population studies; Molecular and Physical Plant Science; Applied and Analytical Chemistry; Environmental Economics and Law) from 3 faculties (Science, Business Economics and Law).

The research group Environmental Economics closely collaborates with different research partners in numerous projects, such as: KU Leuven, Yale University, Antwerp University, Maastricht University, Ghent University, VITO, Wageningen University and Tilburg University.

Ecosystem Services


Ecosystem services is the broad group of valuable services and materials delivered by ecosystems, contributing to economic activity and social well-being. Within the EE-team, ecosystem services are investigated as indicators for efficient natural resources management. Also the structure, feasibility and effects of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) systems are analysed. Selected projects :

Valuing externalities in a business context.

Timing 2012
Partners        Cambridge University, CPSL, VNN, UHasselt
Contact Silvie Daniels


Sustainable and economical efficient ecosystem management: modeling biophysical scale followed by optimizing payments for ecosystem services.

Timing 2012-2016
Partners        FWO
Contact Nele Witters


Climate Change

World in Danger

The consequences of climate change over the long term affect multiple aspects of the economy and the society. The EE-team investigates closely the long-term impact of climate change on European agriculture, the distributed effects, and the adaptational behaviour of affected stakeholders. Selected projects :

Ricardian analysis of the impact of climate change on european agriculture.

Timing 2012
Partners        UHasselt, Yale University
Contact Steven Van Passel


Clean Technologies


In order to support promising clean technologies, the EE-team has developed a large experience in the techno-economic and environmental assessment of diverse cleantech solutions. Specific methods have been elaborated for the holistic sustainability assessment of biobased technologies and recycling innovations. Other projects assess the impact of emerging technologies on the economic structure, the contributions to sustainability transitions and societal change. Selected projects:

Energy crops on agricultural land enriched with heavy metals: functional repair through phytoextraction and/or energy crops as a sustainable alternative for classic agriculture.

Timing 2009 - 2010
Partners        UHasselt, Yale University
Contact Nele Witters


Organext - green nanotechnology: from flexible solar cells to printable electronics

Timing 2009 - 2013
Partners        UHasselt, IMOMEC, ULG, ICIS, UNU-MERIT, Hogeschool Zuyd, RWTH Aachen, TU Eindhoven, IMEC, TWEED, Cide-Socran
Contact Sebastien Lizin


Closing the circle: enhanced landfill mining (elfm) as part of the transition to sustainable materials management.

Timing 2011 - 2014
Partners        Group Machiels, UHasselt, KULeuven, VITO
Contact Steven Van Passel


Techno-economic assessment (TEA)

Techno-economic assessments are the most suitable approach for economic analysis of innovative technologies. TEA makes an investment decision, bridging the engineering knowledge of the process with the risk-assessment of an economic evaluation. This leads to the determination of critical technical variables as well as the sensitivity of market circumstances on the new technology.


Sustainability assessment

The sustainability assessment of new Cleantech solutions and innovative technologies requires adapted sustainability methods. Our group has extensive experience in efficiency-based sustainability methods, such as the sustainable value apporach, trade-off analyses or frontier analysis. Holistic methods are also developed for the evaluation of life cycle impacts and costing for biobased technologies. In order to make the step from the sustainability of individual technologies to sustainable policies on sector level, the environmental economics team has developped evolutionary agent-based models to follow emerging technologies during a sector transition.


Ecosystem service valuations

Valuations of intangible benefits from ecosystem services provides constructive solutions to account for the importance of ecosystem process. This valuation can make use of discrete choice experiments, hedonic pricing or contingent valuation. The combination with models for payment for ecosystem services shemes, leads to the development of effective budget transfers to ecosystems according to the value they create.

Projects in the picture

Growing Renewable Energy Applications and Technologies

The GREAT project is an EU funded project under the  INTERREG IVB NWE Programme. GREAT aims to encourage communities and small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) to develop technological solutions for Smart Grid, Renewable Energy and Distributive Generation; research and develop policy issues for regulatory authorities and provide structured co-operation opportunities between SMEs and research institutes / technology developers.


News and updates

Sustainable Materials Management

The Policy Research Centre studies Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) from a transition management perspective. Since SMM is a cornerstone of the future green economy, behavior in society should be shifted in a way that cuurent material needs can be fulfilled without destabilizing the natural system nor mortgaging its future. The Policy Centre will investigate and foster the role that policy can and should play in this transition towards SMM.



Full list of all our projects


Selected publications

Hoogmartens, R., Van Passel, S., Van Acker, K., Dubois, M. 2014. Bridging the gap between LCA, LCC and CBA as sustainability tools. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 48: 27-33

Van Dael, M., Van Passel, S., Pelkmans, L., Guisson, R., Reumermann, P., Marquez Luzardo, N., Witters, N., Broeze, J. 2013. A techno-economic evaluation of a biomass energy conversion park. Applied Energy 104: 611-622

Lizin, S., Van Passel, S., De Schepper, E., Maes, W., Lutsen, L., Manca, J. Vanderzande, D. 2013. Life cycle analyses of organic photovoltaics: a review. Energy & Environmental Science, 2013, 6, 3136-3149

Van Passel, S., Dubois, M., Eyckmans, J., de Gheldere, S., Ang, F., Jones, P.T., Van Acker, K. 2013. The economics of enhanced landfill mining: private and societal performance drivers. Journal of Cleaner Production 55: 92-102

Ang, F., Van Passel, S., Mathijs, E. 2011. An aggregate resource efficiency perspective on sustainability: a sustainable value application to the EU-15 countries. Ecological Economics 71:99-110


Full list of all our publications



Education at the Faculty of Business Economics


Framework Programme EU, FWO, IWT, BOF, INTERREG, EFRO, local, regional and federal authorities in Belgium

Services and advice

The team delivers advice to local, regional and federal authorities, companies and research institutes


Prof. dr. Robert Malina

Prof. dr. ir Steven VAN PASSEL

Former researchers

  • dr. ir. Frederic Ang
  • dr. Maheshi Danthurebandara
  • dr. ir. Yann de Mey
  • dr. Ellen De Schepper
  • dr. Eloi Schreurs
  • dr. ir. Annick Vastiau
  • Thomas Voets

Guest researchers

  • Diriba Dadi Debela (Ethiopian Institute of architecture, Building, Construction and City Development, Ethipia)
  • Thanh Lan Nguyen (National Economics University, Vietnam)
  • Dobane Patricia Sebola (University of Limpopo, South Africa)
  • Mahedi Al Masud (Khulna University, Bangladesh)

Environmental Economics

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