Dr. Jeffrey Bergthorson (Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar, Mechanical Engineering, McGill University) is TISED’s first Panda Faculty Scholar in Sustainable Engineering and Design. Dr. Bergthorson was concurrently appointed as TISED’s Associate Director and began a three-year term in January 2015, which was renewed for a second three-year term in January 2018.
This Faculty Scholar position supports exploratory and highly innovative research in sustainability and advances and enriches the teaching and research programs launched by TISED, partly by funding doctoral student research in sustainability in engineering and design and partly by championing outreach, research, and policy work with the institute. Professor Bergthorson is an expert in the combustion properties of alternative and sustainable fuels, including biofuels, and is a Theme Leader within the BioFuelNet Network of Centres of Excellence. As the Panda Scholar, he will pursue research on zero-carbon energy research and technology-development to enable a more sustainable, low-carbon future. Prof.Bergthorson’s research explores the use of metal powders as recyclable solar fuels for zero-carbon power generation. Metal fuels provide a superior alternative to compressed or liquefied hydrogen as future energy carriers that can supplement and replace many of the essential roles that hydrocarbon fuels play within 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 currently developing the science and technologies 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) and is intended to recognize, encourage, and catalyze research activities in the Faculty of Engineering in sustainable engineering and design.