Leading the charge toward sustainability

Published: 16 January 2015

Professor Jeffrey Bergthorson in the Department of Mechanical Engineering has been named the first Panda Faculty Scholar in Sustainable Engineering and Design at the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED). Also recently appointed Associate Director of TISED, Prof Bergthorson began a 3-year term in both roles on January 1, 2015.

Professor Bergthorson is an expert in the combustion properties of alternative and sustainable fuels, including biofuels, and is a Theme Leader within BioFuelNet Canada, a Network of Centres of Excellence. As Panda Scholar, he will pursue research on zero-carbon energy research and technology development to enable a more sustainable, low-carbon future. Prof Bergthorson explores the use of metal powders as recyclable solar fuels for zero-carbon power generation. Metal fuels may be superior alternatives to compressed or liquefied hydrogen as future energy carriers, thus supplementing and replacing many of the essential roles of hydrocarbon fuels in modern society. By studying metal-water reactions for in-situ hydrogen production and the direct combustion of metal-fuel suspensions in air, Bergthorson’s research group is developing the science and technology needed to harness the chemical energy in metal fuels, using heat-engine and fuel-cell systems, to power heavy machinery, automobiles, and other forms of transportation.

The Panda Faculty Scholar in Sustainable Engineering and Design award was established through an endowed gift to the Faculty of Engineering from alumnus Ram Panda (M.Eng. ’71, MBA ’77). This Faculty Scholar position supports exploratory and highly innovative research in sustainability. It advances and enriches the teaching and research programs launched by TISED. The award provides funding for doctoral student research in sustainable engineering and design and opportunities for outreach, research and policy work.

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