Dr Amy Fitzgerald

Doctoral Practitioner
MSc Sustainable Development; LLB (Hons) Law

Academic and research departments

Centre for Environment and Sustainability.


My research project


In the media

EcoComp Conference 2019
Speaker profiles for EcoComp Conference 2019


Amy M. Fitzgerald, Nathan Wong, Annabel V.L. Fitzgerald, David A Jesson, Ffion Martin, Richard J. Murphy, Tim Young, Ian Hamerton, Marco L Longana (2022)Life Cycle Assessment of the High Performance Discontinuous Fibre (HiPerDiF) Technology and Its Operation in Various Countries, In: Sustainability14(3)1922 MDPI

Composite waste is a growing issue due to the increased global demand for products manufactured from these advanced engineering materials. Current reclamation methods produce short length fibres that, if not realigned during remanufacture, result in low-value additives for non-structural applications. Consequently, to maximise the economic and functional potential, fibre realignment must occur. The High Performance Discontinuous Fibre (HiPerDiF) technology is a novel process that produces highly aligned discontinuous fibre-reinforced composites, which largely meet the structural performance of virgin fibres, but to date, the environmental performance of the machine is yet to be quantified. This study assessed the environmental impacts of the operation of the machine using life cycle assessment methodology. Electrical energy consumption accounts for the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions, with water consumption as the main contributor to ecosystem quality damage. Suggestions have been made to reduce energy demand and reuse the water in order to reduce the overall environmental impact. The hypothetical operation of the machine across different European countries was also examined to understand the impacts associated with bulk material transport and electricity from different energy sources. It was observed that the environmental impact showed an inverse correlation with the increased use of renewable sources for electricity generation due to a reduction in air pollutants from fossil fuel combustion. The analysis also revealed that significant reductions in environmental damage from material transport between the reclamation facility to the remanufacturing site should also be accounted for, and concluded that transportation routes predominantly via shipping have a lower environmental impact than road and rail haulage. This study is one of the first attempts to evaluate the environmental impact of this new technology at early conceptual development and to assess how it would operate in a European scenario.

Amy Fitzgerald, Will Proud, Ali Kandemir, Richard J. Murphy, David A. Jesson, Richard S. Trask, Ian Hamerton, Marco L. Longana (2021)A life cycle engineering perspective on biocomposites as a solution for a sustainable recovery, In: Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland)13(3)pp. 1-25 Mdpi

Composite materials, such as carbon fibre reinforced epoxies, provide more efficient structures than conventional materials through light-weighting, but the associated high energy demand during production can be extremely detrimental to the environment. Biocomposites are an emerging material class with the potential to reduce a product's through-life environmental impact relative to wholly synthetic composites. As with most materials, there are challenges and opportunities with the adoption of biocomposites at the each stage of the life cycle. Life Cycle Engineering is a readily available tool enabling the qualification of a product's performance, and environmental and financial impact, which can be incorporated in the conceptual development phase. Designers and engineers are beginning to actively include the environment in their workflow, allowing them to play a significant role in future sustainability strategies. This review will introduce Life Cycle Engineering and outline how the concept can offer support in the Design for the Environment, followed by a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of biocomposites throughout their life cycle.