Background and activities

I am the Director of the Industrial Ecology Programme at NTNU.

My main research interests are in the field of i) climate change impacts from anthropogenic emissions and disturbances of terrestrial ecosystems, ii) environmental sustainability analysis (e.g., LCA), iii) sustainable land management and bioresource potentials, and iv) analysis and process development of advanced biofuels and biorefinery systems.

I am teaching the graduate course "Climate Change Mitigation" (TEP 4300). I served as Lead Author in the forthcoming IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land, I am co-chairing the Global Warming Task Force of the UNEP-SETAC Life-Cycle Initiative, and I am member of the steering committee of the commission of Geography for Future Earth: Coupled Human-Earth Systems for Sustainability. I am the National Task Leader for Norway of the IEA Bioenergy Task 45 "Climate and Sustainability Effects of Bioenergy within the broader Bioeconomy".

Included by Web of Science among the world's most influential researchers of the past decade (2010-2019), demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year.


Main active projects

2020 - 2024: Novel high-performance polymers from lignocellulosic feedstocks (GreenPolymers)

This project will investigate novel sustainable platform chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass to produce bio-derived polymers for highly functionalized applications (e.g., automotive industry, coatings, packaging, etc). The environmental benefits and possible adverse effects are analyzed for enabling the optimization of the production process from a sustainability point of view, and the performance of the bio-based polymers will be benchmarked against conventional fossil-derived plastics.


2020 - 2024: Sustainable management of forests and other productive land areas

This project will explore potential synergies and trade-offs between sustainable management of forests and other productive land areas for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and bioresource supply to support the transition to a sustainable bioeconomy. Land cover datasets, vegetation structure parameters, land surface models, and environmental impact assessment models will be integrated to identify win-win solutions.


2020 - 2024: Life cycle effects from removing hazardous substances in sludge and plastic through thermal treatment (SLUDGEFFECT)

The project will identify environmental friendly ways to best handle sludge, exploit its energy and nutrient content, and reduce its concentration of hazardous substances, through implementing heat-based methods, such as pyrolysis. Heat-treated sludge can be used as an agricultural fertilizer with much fewer contaminants. This could make for safer farmlands and ensure the nutrients in sewage sludge are properly recycled. Though these heat-treatments cost energy, they can be optimized for energy efficiency or even be carbon negative, such as by using biogas from the fermented sludge as a heat source, or alternatively the produced pyrolysis chars as fuel.


2020 - 2024: Biofuels in deep sea shipping for climate change mitigation (Bio4-7Seas)

The ambition of Bio4-7Seas is to provide a robust understanding of the climate change mitigation potential and environmental effects associated with a growing deployment of biofuels for deep sea fleet. The project will conduct a multidisciplinary approach combining state-of-the-art competence in biofuel systems, maritime engineering, life cycle assessment, and climate science. Maps on the availability of a variety of biomass feedstocks, advanced biofuel conversion technologies, and international shipping models are integrated within an Earth system model framework to assess the effects, benefits, and potential trade-offs of alternative biofuel utilization pathways in the shipping sector. 


2019 - 2022: Advancing biofuel pathways with regional climate change implications (BIOPATH)

The primary objective of BIOPATH is to explore the interactions between future biofuel pathways, land transitions, and the regional climate, thereby offering novel science-based evidence to advance assessment frameworks of biofuel systems. BIOPATH will quantify the regional climate change effects of future biofuel pathways, assess the associated land transitions and value chain impacts, and improve our understanding of relevant land-atmosphere interactions. The ultimate goal is to facilitate the identification of win-win land management and biofuel strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The project will also assess the public perception of biofuels in Norway and the role of policies for the implementation of most promising strategies.


2019 - 2022: Strategies to mitigate pressures on terrestrial ecosystems from multiple stressors (MITISTRESS)

MITISTRESS plans to map land uses and ecosystem stress levels in Norway and the Tibetan Plateau of China to quantify the cumulative effects on ecosystem services under a changing climate. The project will process satellite data, carry out fieldwork in the Tibetan Plateau of China, calibrate and run regional climate and ecosystem models to generate new robust scientific knowledge for the design of land management policies in Norway and China. 


2019 - 2022: Bioenergy's role in a sustainable future: An assessment of environment, technology, supply chains and uncertainty (BEST)

BEST will combine life cycle assessment (LCA) and dynamic energy-land use modelling in order to analyse the climate and environmental impacts of a diverse set of bioenergy technology alternatives, and of global bioenergy deployment pathways. This will help identify what future optimal bioenergy deployment pathways should look like, and to find win-win solutions. A secondary objective is to develop an effcient, flexible and transparent LCA model and tool incorporating future scenarios for bioenergy deployment.


2019 - 2022: Accelerating Carbon Capture using Oxyfuel Technology in Cement Production (AC2OCem)

In AC2OCem, pilot-scale experiments, as well as analytical studies, will be performed to bring the key components of oxyfuel cement plants to TRL6 with the aim of reducing the time to market of the oxyfuel technology in the cement sector. AC²OCem will explore the 1st generation oxyfuel for retrofitting, focusing on optimization of the oxyfuel calciner operation and advancing the kiln burner technology for combusting up to 100 % alternative fuels with high biogenic share to bring this BECCS solution to TRL6.  


2018 / 2022 Implementing biochar-fertilizer solution in Norway for climate and food production benefits (CARBO-FERTIL)

In CARBO-FERTIL we will develop the innovations in pyrolysis and nutrient-rich waste recycling leading to biochar-fertilizer products as win-win solution for carbon-storage and food production. We will further evaluate this solution in terms of: 1) economic merit in the agricultural sector, 2) climate change mitigation benefits for Norway, through climate impact analysis, and 3) carbon reporting systems for Norway’s commitments to the Paris agreement.


2018 - 2021: Bottom-up global and regional biofuel potentials and regional climate

This project will investigate bottom-up potentials of bioenergy under spatial explicit biophysical constraints and land competition, and assess the implications on the regional climate. A smooth interface between land cover databases and regional climate models will be established to facilitate the applications of land-regional climate models (e.g., CLM-WRF). Scenarios of bioenergy potentials will be assessed to understand and identify potential synergies with local climate effects and other environmental quality indicators.


2017 - 2024: Norwegian Centre for Sustainable Bio-based Fuels (FME Bio4Fuels)

The Centre aims to develop innovative technology and support industries to realize economic and sustainable conversion of lignocellulosic biomass and organic residues to transportation fuels, along with added value chemicals, heat and power. Key research is to increase the effeciency and yields of major process steps within the different value chains, as well as achieving techno-economic insights for the optimal integration within and across value chains and greater understanding of the environmental consequences of the various value chains.


2017 - 2021: Advancing characterization of climate change impacts in LCA

The aim of this project is to achieve a better representation of climate change impacts in LCA, by considering variability in climate forcing agents (GHGs, near-term climate forcers, surface albedo, etc.), temporal and spatial scales, and impact measured (radiative forcing, temperature changes, etc.).


Recent scientific publications (Scopus, Google Scholar)

  • Hou, Y., Zhao, W., Liu, Y., Yang, S., Hu, X., Cherubini, F. (2021) Relationships of multiple landscape services and their influencing factors on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. Landscape Ecology, In press.
  • Hu, X., B. Huang, F. Verones, O. Cavalett, and F. Cherubini (2021) Overview of Recent Land Cover Changes in the Biodiversity Hotspots. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, In press.
  • Yang, S., W.Zhao, Y. Liu, F. Cherubini, B. Fu, P. Pereira (2021). Prioritizing sustainable development goals and linking them to ecosystem services: An expert's knowledge evaluation. Geography and Sustainability, In press.
  • Weixing Liu, C. M. Iordan, F. Cherubini, X. Hu, D. Fu (2021) Environmental impacts assessment of wastewater treatment and sludge disposal systems under two sewage discharge standards: a case study in Kunshan, China. Journal of Cleaner Production, In press.
  • Resch, E., Andresen, I., Cherubini, F., & Brattebø, H. (2021). Estimating dynamic climate change effects of material use in buildings—Timing, uncertainty, and emission sources. Building and Environment, 187, 107399.
  • McElwee P., K. Calvin, D. Campbell, F. Cherubini, G. Grassi, V. Korotkov, A. Le Hoang, S. Lwasa, J. Nkem, E. Nkonya, N. Saigusa, J.‐F. Soussana, M. A. Taboada, F. Manning, D. Nampanzira, P. Smith (2020) The impact of interventions in the global land and agri‐food sectors on Nature’s Contributions to People and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Global Change Biology, 26 (9): 4691-4721.
  • Huang B., X. Hu, G.A. Fuglstad, X. Zhou, W. Zhao, F. Cherubini (2020) Predominant regional biophysical cooling from recent land cover changes in Europe, Nature Communications, 11: 1066.
  • Feng Q., W. Zhao, X. Hu, Y. Liu, S. Daryanto, F. Cherubini (2020) Trading-off ecosystem services for better ecological restoration: A case study in the Loess Plateau of China, Journal of Cleaner Production, 257: 120469.
  • Tschora H. and Cherubini F. (2020) Co-benefits and trade-offs of agroforestry for climate change mitigation and other sustainability goals in West Africa, Global Ecology and Conservation, 22: e00919.
  • Smith P., K. Calvin, J. Nkem, D. Campbell, F. Cherubini, G. Grassi, V. Korotkov, A. Le Hoang, S. Lwasa, P. McElwee, E. Nkonya, N. Saigusa, J.‐F. Soussana, M. A. Taboada, F. Manning, D. Nampanzira, C. Arias‐Navarro, M. Vizzarri, J. House, S. Roe, A. Cowie, M. Rounsevell, A. Arneth (2020) Which practices co‐deliver food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and combat land‐degradation and desertification? Global Change Biology, 26(3): 1532-1575.
  • Tisserant, A.; Cherubini, F. (2019) Potentials, Limitations, Co-Benefits, and Trade-Offs of Biochar Applications to Soils for Climate Change Mitigation. Land, 8: 179.
  • Hu, X., B. Huang, F. Cherubini (2019) Impacts of idealized land cover changes on climate extremes in Europe. Ecological Indicators, 104: 626-635.
  • Tanaka, K., O. Cavalett, W. J. Collins, and F. Cherubini (2019) Asserting the climate benefits of the coal-to-gas shift across temporal and spatial scales. Nature Climate Change, 9: 389–396.
  • Cavalett O. and F. Cherubini  (2018) Contribution of jet fuel from forest residues to multiple Sustainable Development Goals, Nature Sustainability 1: 799–807.
  • Cavalett, O., S. Norem Slettmo and F. Cherubini (2018). Energy and Environmental Aspects of Using Eucalyptus from Brazil for Energy and Transportation Services in Europe. Sustainability 10(11): 4068.
  • Hu, X., Cherubini, F., Vezhapparambu, S., & Strømman, A. H. (2018). From remotely‐sensed data of Norwegian boreal forests to fast and flexible models for estimating surface albedo. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 10, 2495-2513.
  • Cherubini F., Francesca Santaniello, Xiangping Hu, Johan Sonesson, Anders Hammer Strømman, Jan Weslien, Line B. Djupström & Thomas Ranius (2018) Climate impacts of retention forestry in a Swedish boreal pine forest, Journal of Land Use Science, 13 (3), 17.
  • Iordan C., X. Hu, A. Arvesen, P. Kauppi and F. Cherubini (2018) Contribution of forest wood products to negative emissions: historical comparative analysis from 1960 to 2015 in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Carbon Balance and Management 13:12
  • Cherubini, F., Huang, B., Hu, X., Toelle M., Strømman, A.H. (2018). Quantifying the climate response to extreme land cover changes in Europe with a regional model. Environmental Research Letters, 13 074002.
  • Hu, X., Iordan, C., Cherubini, F. (2018) Estimating future wood outtakes in the Norwegian forestry sector under the shared socioeconomic pathways. Global Environmental Change 50: 15-24.
  • Jolliet, O.,  Antón A., Boulay A.M., Cherubini, F., Fantke, P., Levasseur, A., McKone, T., Michelsen, O., Milà i Canals, L., Motoshita, M., Pfister, S., Verones, F., Vigon, B., Frischknecht, R. (2018) Global guidance on environmental life cycle impact assessment indicators: impacts of climate change, fine particulate matter formation, water consumption and land use, The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 23 (11), 2189–2207.
  • Arvesen, A., Cherubini F., et al. (2018) Cooling aerosols and changes in albedo counteract warming from CO2 and black carbon from forest bioenergy in Norway. Nature Scientific Reports 8(1): 3299.
  • Iordan, C. M., Verones F., Cherubini F. (2018). Integrating impacts on climate change and biodiversity from forest harvest in Norway. Ecological Indicators 89: 411-421.
  • Hanserud, O. S., Cherubini, F., Øgaard, A. F., Muller, D. B., Brattebø, H. (2018) Choice of mineral fertilizer substitution principle strongly influences LCA environmental benefits of nutrient cycling in the agri-food system. Science of The Total Environment 615: 219-227.