B4Plastics Team, New

A day in the life of Luciano, our B4Plastics R&D Scientist !

June 5, 2023

As part of our series about the daily work of B4Plastics employees, today we're happy to introduce Luciano Monsegue, R&D Scientist at B4Plastics.

Background of Luciano

Luciano is 29 years old and holds a masters in Biobased Materials, R&D scientist.

Q. How did you get into a career as an R&D Scientist in the New Plastics Economy?

I’ve always had an interest in science, particularly chemistry and biology, which helped shape my decision in choosing a career in scientific research. My journey began with an initial interest in biological structures and synthetic chemistry, which led to a curiosity in how to combine knowledge in these subjects to obtain materials with a desired function that can be made sustainably from renewable biological raw materials. This curiosity was further developed during my master’s study in Biobased Materials, which solidified my desire to carry out research that advances the goals of sustainability. A large part of sustainability research involves the production of (bio)plastics, which was ultimately the career path I’ve chosen.  

Q. Describe your typical working day at B4Plastics.

My workday begins at 7:30am and I usually start my day by going through work e-mails with some coffee. I then align with my students on their obtained results and workplan. Since I handle multiple projects/tasks, the prioritization of work carried out for them is done early on and the rest of the day involves executing the practical R&D work necessary to complete project goals and reach important deadlines. An example of such work would be setting up and monitoring a reaction carried out either in the lab (lab-scale research) or elsewhere (upscaling research). During the reaction, I spend time writing reports, analyzing data and attending meetings scheduled for that day. Before the workday finishes, I begin cleaning up and shutting down reaction(s).  

Q. What are the skills you need to excel as an R&D Scientist in a scale-up company?

Besides the more expected skills, such as background knowledge in polymers and practical experience in synthetic chemistry, a major part in developing (bio)plastics is the innovative character and economically-minded thinking necessitated by shifting the plastics economy from fossil-based to biobased production. A fossil-based commercial plastic may for example have the ability to be produced in a biobased fashion, although the desire to further develop a particular biobased production pathway will depend as well on economic feasibility. Part of R&D in shifting the plastics economy to more sustainable approaches involves taking into account innovation, economic feasibility and staying up to date with the developing biobased processes, which increases availability of biobased monomers more and more in the market.  

Q. What challenges do you face in this role?

One of my main tasks is to develop the R&D of our RubberPlastics platform. The development of this platform involves coordinating the work carried out in the lab and upscaling reactors in order to develop products for various broad applications, such as extrusion, injection moulding and 3D printing. This requires collaboration with several colleagues and monitoring of several processes in parallel. While a project often focuses on meeting project goals, the development of a plastics platform requires coordination of many facets spanning the product value chain from raw materials and fundamental R&D towards large-scale reproducible production leading to a commercialized process. Success in this endeavor requires a certain level of coordination, commitment and prioritization of activities in order to balance the demands of each facet. This can sometimes be challenging, although I enjoy it!  

Q. What keeps you motivated to go to work every day?

Every small contribution to sustainable living helps in maintaining economic output and everyone’s personal comfort in the long term. I’m naturally interested in scientific research coming out of various fields, and in terms of a fulfilling career, applying such research towards sustainability feels like I’m doing what I enjoy doing with a greater benefit for this world. 

Q. What advice would you give someone considering a career in the New Plastics Economy?

Be inquisitive about the latest news in bioplastics, stay up to date with the developing technologies and be prepared to tackle challenges presented in R&D with an ambitious and can-do attitude! 

At B4Plastics, we are committed to creating sustainable and innovative plastics to push the old fossil plastics towards the New Plastics Economy. If you’re ready to change our tomorrow together with the B4Plastics green team, find our open vacancies here or apply spontaneously by contacting heroes@b4plastics.com.



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