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Personal profile

Caroline Lievens (1977) has a dual function at ITC since October 2015: head of the Geo-Science Laboratory ( and assistant professor in the Earth Systems Analysis Department in the Faculty of Geo-information and Earth Observation.

Caroline Lievens earned a PhD degree in Chemistry from the Centre of Environmental Sciences (CMK) at Hasselt University in Belgium. In 2007, Caroline successfully defended her PhD work: “Valorization of heavy metal contaminated biomass by fast pyrolysis”. Caroline Lievens also obtained 2 MSc degrees:

1. Chemistry (2000 - Ghent University): thesis: Jaarlijkse stralingsdosis-bepaling in de luminescentie-datering via Ge en NaI(Tl) gamma-spectrometrie en neutronenactiveringsanalyse, Promoter: Prof. Dr. F. De Corte.

2. Soil Science (2002 - Ghent University - ITC, Physical Land Resources): thesis: Retention of heavy metals in soils of Flanders, promoters: Prof. Dr. E. Van Ranst, Prof. Dr. Ir. F. Tack

After her PhD, she worked for two years at ECN (Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands) on gas cleaning after biomass gasification for the production of Syngas. In 2010 Caroline started post-doc research at Curtin University (Fuel and Energy Technology Institute, Perth, Australia) where she was responsible for the development of new analysis techniques for biomass and pyrolysis products, the analysis and characterization of pyrolysis products and upgraded products, and the use of biochars as soil amendment. While in China, at NICE (National Instititute of Clean-and-low-carbon Energy, 2012-2013), she was project leader of the project ”Fundamental study of brown coal pyrolysis”, during which she was in charge of a small team tasked with designing experiments to characterize brown coal and to generate a plan for optimizing oil production via brown coal pyrolysis. In July 2013, Caroline returned to the Netherlands, for a post-doc position at Twente University, Chemical Engineering (TNW-SPT) as project manager of a catalysis project: catalytical upgrading of pyrolysis oils for the production of fuels. Further she was involved in research projects with Shell.

Online profiles:



Analytical techniques: advanced understanding of ICP/OES, CHNOS analysis, FT-Raman spectroscopy, FT-IR spectroscopy, TGA, TG/FTIR, TG/MS, GC/MS, Pyrolysis-GC/MS, TD/GC/MS, UV-Fluorescence, GPC, XRD, XRF, calorific value determination, chlorine determination, viscosity measurement, acid digestions of organic materials, bomb combustions and ashing methods of pyrolysis products 

Method development for analytical procedures for characterization of biomass and minerals.

Alternative (green) energy: Pyrolysis of biomass for the product and fuel production, Geothermal Energy


Caroline lectures geochemistry, analytical chemistry, with the emphasis on the qualitative and quantitative analysis of minerals and biomass to support and/or validate remote sensing results and model calculations. 

• Teaching topics in the Applied Earth Sciences (AES) and Water Resources and Environmental Management (WREM) programs: basic chemistry, mineralogy, analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, field sampling, data processing. 
• Module coordinator for module 5 (Geochemistry and Geophysics) of the Applied Earth Sciences postgraduate diploma course. 
• Coaching and supervision of MSc and PhD research
• Education activities in the Geo-Science Laboratory 
      o Facilitating chemical and soil research for Applied Earth Sciences (AES), Water Resources and Environmental Management (WREM) and Natural Resources Management (NREM) MSc and PhD students. 
      o More information

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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