• 268 Citations

Research output per year

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Personal profile


“Sustainability assessments should be fact-based, value-driven and change-oriented.”

Research profile

Arjan Kirkels is an Assistant Professor in the department Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His areas of expertise include technology assessment and sustainability assessments, in particular for the energy transition and the circular economy. Arjan’s research deals with assessment and implementation of sustainable technologies and is at the intersection of industrial ecology, feasibility studies and innovation sciences. He typically follows a multi-disciplinary approach, often combining multiple methods.

Arjan has a particular interest in critical sustainability assessments. On the one hand, these build on measuring and scoring ‘hard’ criteria related to sustainability (e.g. people, planet and profit dimensions); and on the other hand they deal with subjectivity (e.g. stakeholder preferences and conflicting views or framing). On top of this, these assessments have to deal with large uncertainties, which requires a robust approach. Besides deepening scientific insight in this field, Arjan supports an action-based approach – as sustainability and innovation can only be achieved by making real changes.

Academic background

Arjan Kirkels studied Technology and Society at TU/e, graduating in 2000 on a thesis on municipal waste incineration. From 1995-2008, he worked as senior lecturer at TU/e for the center Technology for Sustainable Development (TDO). From 2008 he continued this position within the TIS group. In 2016 he obtained his PhD for his thesis on developments and trajectories of biomass gasification, and he was appointed as assistant professor. Arjan has been involved in setting up and teaching of more than 15 courses, wrote several readers, supervised many student projects on a variety of topics (thesis and multidisciplinary projects), and participated in networks on sustainability in education.

Student work includes projects on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA), feasibility studies, business models, discourse analysis and design based approaches on a variety of sustainable technologies – including energy from biomass, new energy carriers, solar PV and energy in the built environment. Arjan also publishes regularly in key international journals, including Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews and Energy for Sustainable Development.

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Research Output

Biomass boom or bubble?: a longitudinal study on expectation dynamics

Kirkels, A., 1 Feb 2016, In : Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 103, p. 83-96 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    5 Downloads (Pure)

    The green struggle: development and trajectories of biomass gasification

    Kirkels, A. F., 16 Jun 2016, Eindhoven: Technische Universiteit Eindhoven. 208 p.

    Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

    Open Access
    556 Downloads (Pure)

    Punctuated continuity : the technological trajectory of advanced biomass gasifiers

    Kirkels, A. F., 2014, In : Energy Policy. 68, p. 170-182

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)

    Discursive shifts in energy from biomass : a 30 year European overview

    Kirkels, A. F., 2012, In : Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 16, 6, p. 4105-4115 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • 21 Citations (Scopus)
    2 Downloads (Pure)

    Biomass gasification : still promising? : a 30 year global overview

    Kirkels, A. F. & Verbong, G. P. J., 2011, In : Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 15, 1, p. 471-481 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • 213 Citations (Scopus)
    7 Downloads (Pure)

    Press / Media

    Onderzoek naar energieneutraal Peel en Maas

    Arjan Kirkels


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    Prutsen met een waterkoker

    Arjan Kirkels


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    Student theses

    Analyse en optimalisatie energiehuishouding bij AVR-AVIRA afvalverbranding te Duiven

    Author: Kirkels, A., 31 Aug 2000

    Supervisor: Verbong, G. (Supervisor 1)

    Student thesis: Master