Emanuela Gallo Reinforces EUMEPS on Construction Topics

Emanuela Gallo

EUMEPS is thrilled to introduce Emanuela Gallo as our latest addition to the team, stepping into the role of consultant and Technical Affairs Manager. With an impressive background in materials engineering and a strong expertise in fire safety, Emanuela’s journey to the heart of the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) industry marks an important step in our pursuit of enhancing product safety and promoting sustainability within the sector. In an enlightening interview, Emanuela shares insights into her professional path, her motivations for joining EUMEPS, and her ambitious vision for the future of EPS in achieving a climate-neutral and resource-efficient Europe.


Could you share what drew you to the EPS industry, and specifically to EUMEPS, given your extensive background in materials engineering and fire safety?

I started my career studying Chemistry, but it wasn’t until my PhD in material science that I first encountered the fascinating topic of fire and its properties. My dissertation focused on assessing the fire performance of plastic materials, which I found to be a challenging but rewarding effort. Ever since then, I have been driven to continue exploring the complex relationship between plastics and fire through various professional experiences. When EUMEPS offered me an opportunity to apply my expertise in materials engineering and fire safety for a worthy cause, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!


What are some of the key achievements in your career, particularly in materials development and fire safety, that you believe will influence your work at EUMEPS?

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of contexts and with a range of different materials and products, both in academic and industrial settings. I have collaborated with various industries and universities, and as a result, I have authored several papers in international journals as a first author. These papers have helped me to deepen my understanding of fire and the mechanism behind burning. Additionally, I have applied for several patents to improve the performance of specific products by using the best combination of materials and elements. In recognition of these efforts, I was awarded a Technical Excellence and Patent award. During my collaboration with a testing institute, we developed a new small-scale test for pre-screening activities related to fire safety and construction product regulation.


With your expertise in flame retardancy, polymer processing, and construction product regulations, how do you foresee these skills enhancing the EPS sector’s approach to product safety and innovation?

I believe that having a strong knowledge and expertise in the field of flame retardancy, including the various testing methods and material behaviour from both physical and chemical perspectives, is essential for ensuring product safety and driving innovation.


As you step into your role to support Jakub Stefaniak, could you elaborate on how your collaboration will shape the technical affairs strategy at EUMEPS?

With Jakub’s constant support and guidance, I am confident in our ability to tackle this new and complex topic. Our collective expertise and dedication will no doubt strengthen EUMPES’ strategy to ensure its success.


What are your immediate focus areas and long-term goals in your new role as a consultant and Technical Affairs Manager at EUMEPS?

Due to my strong fire safety background, my primary focus would be on harmonising fire tests in construction products containing EPS and ETICS in facade applications across member states. This objective is driven by a long-term vision of establishing safer and more sustainable construction practices.

EPS is a game-changer in the construction industry, offering several advantages such as low specific weight, fire safety, health, and environmental safety. I am convinced that it is the key to a safer and sustainable environment, and I am committed to achieving this goal, which I believe will ultimately transform the construction industry.


Given your background as a fire expert, how do you plan to contribute to advancing fire safety standards within the EPS industry?

I have been working with testing and fire safety regulations for over a decade, dealing with various products and commodities.

My expertise and in-depth understanding of how materials react to fire in diverse environments uniquely position me to make a valuable contribution to the development and advancement of fire safety standards within the EPS Industry.


How do you envision your work contributing to EUMEPS’s mission of enhancing the circularity and sustainability of the EPS industry?

EPS is an absolutely 100% recyclable material with an incredibly high reusability factor, making it the ultimate choice for any closed-loop system. The collection and recovery of EPS waste is challenging for most European countries and will be a crucial factor in the future. However, the several projects that were developed in the last years demonstrate excellent results. I’m thrilled to see how my work at EUMEPS would contribute to this goal and keep increasing the circularity.  


Finally, what message would you like to share with EU regulators, industry experts, and the broader EU citizenry about the potential of EPS solutions in building a climate-neutral and resource-efficient Europe?

I’m glad to be part of this team and to play an active role in driving EPS’s industry forward, to develop together innovative solutions for a climate-neutral and resource-efficient Europe, significantly impacting the future of our planet.