Bios


Claudio Canizares (Executive Director, WISE)

Claudio Cañizares is a University Professor and Hydro One Endowed Chair in the electrical and computer engineering (ECE) department at the University of Waterloo, where he has held various academic and administrative positions since 1993. He is also the Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE). Professor Cañizares is the recipient of the 2017 IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Outstanding Power Engineering Educator Award, the 2016 IEEE Canada Electric Power Medal, and multiple IEEE PES Technical Council and Committee awards and recognitions, holding leadership positions in several IEEE-PES Committees, Working Groups, and Task Forces. In 2021 and 2022, he received the Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision from the University of Waterloo.

Opening Keynote Speaker

Harneet Panesar (Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ontario Energy Board (OEB))

Appointed as the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) Chief Operating Officer in 2021, Harneet Panesar is integral in advancing the regulator’s role in the energy transition. His commitment to innovation, accountability, effectiveness and efficiency is modernizing the OEB and driving it to the rank of top-tier regulator.

Mr. Panesar supports Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) through his role as Executive Champion for the OEB’s DEI Council and invests in the sector and his profession through academia. He is a part-time lecturer at Toronto Metropolitan University, and regularly delivers ad hoc lectures at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and the Ontario Institute of Technology.

Mr. Panesar holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in electrical engineering and a Master of Business Administra􀆟on, both from the University of Toronto. He received a Fellowship with Engineers Canada for his work with Professional Engineers of Ontario and service to the engineering profession. He also serves as on the University of Waterloo’s Institute of Sustainable Energy Advisory Board and the Dean’s Advisory Board at Queen’s University.

Prior to joining the OEB, Mr. Panesar spent 14 years in progressively senior positions at Hydro One, most recently as Director of Strategy and Integrated Planning.

 
 

Moderator 

Dr. Kankar Bhattacharya (Professor & Department Chair, Electrical & Computer Engineering)

Kankar Bhattacharya obtained his Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, in 1993. He was in the faculty of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai, India, during 1993-98. During his tenure at IGIDR Mumbai, he also held visiting faculty assignments at the Tampere University of Technology, Finland, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria, to work on IIASA-World Energy Council Project on Long-term Energy Scenarios for South Asia. In 1998 he joined the Department of Electric Power Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, as the first holder of the Frederik Lamm Chair of Assistant Professor (1998-2001), was awarded the Docent (2001) and was promoted to the rank of a tenured Associate Professor in 2002. In January 2003, he joined the University of Waterloo in Canada as a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and was promoted to the rank of full Professor in July 2007.

Dr. Sahar Pirooz Azad (Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering)

Sahar Pirooz Azad received her Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering, specialized in power systems, from University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, in 2013. During her doctoral research, she focused on designing various control schemes for DC-segmented AC systems to prevent grid instability and large-scale blackouts. She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Applied Power Electronics (CAPE) at the University of Toronto in 2014. During her post-doctoral research, she focused on designing controllers with low communication requirements to improve multi-infeed HVDC systems stability. In 2015, she worked as an experienced researcher in the field of DC grid protection at the Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Her research was a part of the multi-terminal DC grid for offshore wind (MEDOW) project; a Marie Curie initial training network funded by the European Commission. She worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta from October 2015 until December 2017. She joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2018. Her research focuses on protection and control of power systems with embedded HVDC lines.

Dr. Shesha Jayaram (Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering)

Shesha H. Jayaram (S’87–M’91–SM’97–F’08) received the B.A.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Bangalore University, Bangalore, India, the M.A.Sc. degree in high voltage engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada, in 1980, 1983, and 1990, respectively. She has held various academic positions at the University of Waterloo since 1992, where she is currently a Full Professor, the University Research Chair, and the Director of the High Voltage Engineering Laboratory. She is also an Adjunct Professor with the University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, and McMaster University, Hamilton, ON. Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, she served on the faculty with the University of Western Ontario, London, ON, as an Assistant Professor from 1990 to 1992 and as an Adjunct from 1992 to 2003. Her current research interests include solution-based outputs, high-voltage engineering and insulation diagnostic, high-voltage engineering applied to environment, nanocomposite materials, and pulse power applied to biotechnology. Dr. Jayaram has been an active member of the IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation and Industry Applications Societies and the Electrostatic Society of America. She is a Registered Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario, Canada.

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Dr. Michael Fisher (Assistant Professor, Ontario Research Chair in Future Energy Systems)

Michael Fisher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. His research is centered around dynamics, optimization, and control of complex systems. He received his PhD in electrical engineering: systems at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2020, and a MSc. in mathematics from the same university in 2017. Prior to joining Waterloo he was a postdoctoral researcher with the Automatic Control Laboratory and the Power System Laboratory at ETH Zurich from 2020-2022. He was a finalist for the 2017 Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) Best Student Paper Award, and a recipient of the 2019 CDC Outstanding Student Paper Award.

Dr. Mehrdad Pirnia (Continuing Lecturer)

Dr. Mehrdad Pirnia received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Waterloo in 2014 in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Power Systems Optimization). He also obtained his MASc degree in Management Sciences (Optimization Specialty). His undergraduate degree is in Industrial Engineering. The main focus of his research is on applying AI, optimization and stochastic techniques to enhance the operation and planning of energy systems. Currently, he is a faculty member at the University of Waterloo, Department of Management Sciences. Before joining UWaterloo, he worked full-time in California ISO and ALSTOM Grid. He also did an internship at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) during his PhD program.

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Moderator

David Clausi (Professor, Professor & Associate Dean, Research & External Partnerships)

David Clausi is a Professor at the University of Waterloo in the Department of Systems Design Engineering as well as the Associate Dean - Research and External Partnerships in the Faculty of Engineering.
His research interests lie in computer vision, image processing, and pattern recognition with an emphasis on the automated interpretation of satellite imagery.
Professor Clausi is a multidisciplinary researcher, publishing refereed journal and conference papers in the diverse fields including remote sensing, computer vision, and algorithm design. His research work has led to successful commercial implementations including the creation and selling of a startup company (CREZ). After successful product deployment and sales, CREZ was purchased by Pointstreak Sports Technologies in 2011.
As of result of his teaching and research work, Professor Clausi has received multiple awards including the “Research Excellence and Service to the Research Community” award from the Canadian Image Processing and Pattern Recognition Society (CIPPRS). He has also received numerous Outstanding Performance Awards and Distinguished Performance Awards as well as two teaching awards (Sanford Fleming Teaching Excellence Award. University of Calgary Teaching Excellence Award).

Dr. Xianguo Li (Professor, Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering) | Faculty of Engineering

Xianguo Li is a Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Professor at the University of Waterloo. Professor Li's main research interests and activities are in the area of thermal fluid/science, including energy systems and energy storage, various energy conversion devices, propulsion and power generation systems, aerosol generation and applications, and transportation fuel cell and battery systems. These research projects involve thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, hydrodynamic stability, multiphase flow, heat and mass transfer, liquid atomization and sprays, combustion, power generation and propulsion systems.

Professor Li is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Green Energy, which established the International Green Energy Conference series and launched the annual review series Progress in Green Energy. He is also the Field Chief Editor, Frontiers in Thermal Engineering. He is currently serving on the editorial board of dozens of international scientific/technical journals, book series on fuel cells and energy systems, as well as an encyclopaedia on Energy Engineering and Technology.

Xin Zeng (Post-Doctoral Fellow, Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering)

Xin Zeng is a post-doctoral fellow in Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Her research interests and activities mainly focus on the green technologies for energy conversion and storage, including fuel cell and (sea)water splitting systems. Currently, she is working on the development of non-precious metal catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction and hydrogen evolution reaction, under the co-supervision of Prof. Sushanta Mitra and Prof. Xianguo Li.

Xin Zeng has obtained her Ph.D. and B.S. degrees from the School of Mechatronical Engineering at Beijing Institute of Technology in 2016 and 2021, respectively. Afterwards, she joined the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Beijing Institute of Technology as a post-doctoral fellow in 2021, and joined University of Waterloo in 2023.

Dr. XiaoYu Wu (Assistant Professor, Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering)

Professor XiaoYu Wu’s research group, Greener Production @ Waterloo combines expertise in thermal science, material engineering and techno-economics to develop sustainable technologies for energy conversion and chemical production. Both experimental and numerical methods will be applied to develop a fundamental understanding of the thermodynamics and kinetics in the processes. Thermo-electro-chemical processes is of interest to maximize system versatility. The kinetics and reaction mechanisms can be obtained from high throughput benchtop reactors and physical models. System-scaled numerical analysis will be used to investigate the optimal operating conditions and the energy-chemical integration. Techno-economic assessment will also be explored to evaluate the costs. These findings will accelerate the material development and process optimization and facilitate the commercialization of these technologies. The goal is to utilize renewable resources and improve global living standards.

Dr. Maurice Dusseault (Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences)

Professor Maurice Dusseault carries out research in petroleum geomechanics (drilling, hydraulic fracturing, reservoir geomechanics), and is a world expert on new production methods, deep waste sequestration in sedimentary basins, and reservoir geomechanics. Professor Dusseault is a registered professional engineer in Alberta and Ontario. He frequently works with governments and industry as an advisor and instructor.

Dr. Eric Croiset (Professor, Chemical Engineering)  

Dr. Eric Croiset is a Chemical Engineering professor at the University of Waterloo with expertise in sustainable energy management, reaction engineering, the exploration of alternative energy and the optimization of carbon dioxide capture processes. In this latter regard, Dr. Croiset and his team have collaborated with CanmetENERGY, Natural Resources Canada for several years to understand, simulate and economically evaluate CO2 capture processes, in particular oxy-fuel combustion. In addition, his interests encompass techno-economic evaluation of direct air capture (DAC) and the development of advanced sorbent for DAC. He is also leading a program on the development of high-temperature solid oxide cell (both fuel cell and electrolyzer) with a current focus on CO2 reduction for production of chemicals and fuels. He has recently embarked in the recovery of some critical minerals, most notably nickel, using vapometallurgy. 

Dr. Dipanjan Basu (Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering)

Dr. Dipanjan Basu is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo (UW). He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut before joining UW. He is a Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario in Canada, and a Chartered Engineer and Professional Engineer in India. Professor Basu is a member of several learned societies in the U.S.A., Canada, and India. He has served in the editorial boards of multiple journals and in multiple committees of the learned societies. He has delivered several keynotes and invited lectures in the U.S.A., Canada, South Africa, Argentina, India, China, and Kazakhstan. He has won multiple awards in the U.S.A., U.K., and India. He hails from Kolkata, India, and has lived in India, U.S.A., and Canada. He is a geotechnical engineer with diverse interest in mechanics, mathematics, numerical methods, renewable energy, and sustainability. He teaches courses on Geotechnical Engineering and Numerical Analysis. He has taught several professional and university short courses in the U.S.A., South Africa, India, and Ethiopia. Professor Basu’s current research focus is on Geothermal Energy, Soil Structure Interaction, Life Cycle Assessment, and Pile Foundations. “From fundamentals to applications”, he likes developing theories based on the principles of physics and mechanics, and finally produces results that are useful in practice. He has over 150 publications with more than 60 refereed articles in reputed journals.

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Dr. Conrad Giresse Tetsassi Feugmo (Assistant Professor)

Dr. Conrard Giresse Tetsassi Feugmo is currently serving as an assistant professor in chemistry at the University of Waterloo. He holds both a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon. Continuing his academic journey, he pursued further studies in Belgium, where he achieved a Specialized Master's degree in Nanotechnologies from the Louvain School of Engineering, followed by a Ph.D. in Computational Chemistry from the University of Namur. After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Feugmo gained valuable experience as a postdoctoral associate at the University of Western Ontario. Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, he worked as a Research Officer at the NRC's Advanced Materials Research Facility in Mississauga, utilizing his expertise in material science, nanotechnologies, and machine learning to develop a materials acceleration platform focused on sustainability-related domains.

Dr. Tetsassi Feugmo's research interests span diverse areas, with a primary focus on expediting the design process of high entropy alloys (HEA) and mixed metal oxides (MMO) using computational approaches such as Density Functional Theory (DFT), Molecular Dynamics (MD), Phase Field Crystal (PFC), and machine learning. By utilizing these methodologies, he is able to delve into the microstructure properties, driving significant progress in energy storage and conversion technologies including fuel cells, batteries, hydrogen technology, and capacitors. Furthermore, he actively engages in designing HEA materials for applications in the hydrogen storage, aeronautics, and nuclear industries. Additionally, he explores the development of hybrid gas sensors that amalgamate organic and metal oxide materials, enabling effective detection of volatile organic compounds. To optimize material efficiency and performance, he is dedicated to the development of constrained multi-objective optimization algorithms and a model for ionic conduction in non-crystalline materials. These tools empower to fine-tune material properties and functionality, ultimately contributing to the advancement of energy storage and conversion systems. 

Moderator

Dr. Neil Craik (Professor & Director)

Neil Craik is a Professor at the University of Waterloo with appointments to the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, where he teaches and researches in the fields of international and Canadian environmental law. His research interests are in climate and geoengineering law and governance, deep seabed mining regulation, and environmental impact assessment.

Dr. Amelia Clarke (Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences)

Dr. Amelia Clarke has been working on environment and sustainability issues since 1989, including as President of Sierra Club Canada (2003-2006), the first Director of the University of Waterloo's Master of Environment and Business degree (2009-2018) and the Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Environment (2018-2022). She is now a Full Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo.

Her main research focuses are related to implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals #8, #11, #13 and #17. She leads a $8.5M national team project called the municipal net-zero action research partnership (N-ZAP), and co-leads a second project on youth & innovation. She also has a long history of working on climate and sustainability action on university campuses, including co-authoring these classic publications on campus environmental management and student-led climate actions. She is a strong believer in youth-led change and on implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Jennifer Lynes (Associate Professor)

Dr. Jennifer Lynes is an associate professor. She is Chair of the non-profit organization Residential Energy Efficiency Program (REEP Green Solutions) and co-founder of the North American Sustainable Concerts Working Group. With an educational background in both marketing and environmental studies, her expertise intersects business and the environment, where she focuses on investigating the marketing of sustainability. Her key research interests include social and community-based green marketing, residential energy conservation behavior, and engaging youth in environmental issues.

Dr. Olaf Weber (Professor, CIBC Chair in Sustainable Finance)

Olaf Weber is a Professor at the Schulich School of Business where he holds the CIBC Chair in Sustainable Finance. He is a Senior Fellow of CIGI and an adjunct professor at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo. His research and teaching interests address the connection between financial sector players, such as banks and sustainable development and the link between sustainability and financial performance of enterprises. His research focus is on the impacts of the financial industry on sustainable development, the role of voluntary and regulatory mechanisms for the financial sector to become more sustainable, social banking and impact investing, the materiality of sustainability risks and opportunities for investors and artificial intelligence as a tool to analyze environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance.

Dr. Jatin Nathwani (Professor, Management Science & Engineering)

Jatin Nathwani, Professor and Ontario Research Chair in Public Policy for Sustainable Energy is the founding Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) at University of Waterloo. He is cross appointed to the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Environment. In the Faculty of Engineering, he is cross appointed to the Department of Management Sciences and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor Nathwani joined the University of Waterloo in 2007.

Professor Nathwani is currently leading a ‘Global Change Initiative - Affordable Energy for Humanity’ to address the challenge of enabling universal access. The focus of this global collaborative effort involves leading universities around the world. The twin goals are to drive the scientific and technological innovations required for energy transitions to a cleaner ‘low carbon’ energy system and to deliver affordable energy to the vast proportion of humanity that has minimal access to electricity and modern fuels for basic needs.

Dr. Sarah Burch (Executive Director, Waterloo Climate Institue)

Dr. Sarah Burch is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management and holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Governance and Innovation. She is the Executive Director of the Waterloo Climate Institute, a Lead Author of the United Nations’ Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and helped to lead expert input into the development of Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy. Her research uncovers transformative responses to climate change at the community scale, the political and justice dimensions of energy transitions, and the unique contributions that small businesses can make to solving these complex challenges. She leads the international partnership-based research project TRANSFORM: Accelerating sustainability entrepreneurship experiments in local spaces, and is the Director of the Sustainability Policy Research on Urban Transformations (SPROUT) Lab. Dr. Burch holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute. She was named to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars in 2017, one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40TM in 2018, and one of Canada’s Clean 50 in 2021.

Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam (Professor | Systems Design Engineering)

Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam is a Professor in the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He has previously worked at several academic institutions including the College of Engineering, Guindy in Chennai, India; the University of Toronto, the University of Ottawa, and the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands. In the past, Professor Ponnambalam has been a Research Assistant Professor and the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies in the Systems Design Engineering department at UWaterloo.
His research interests include design optimization under uncertainty, mainly pertaining to issues in civil, chemical, electrical and environmental engineering. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the many applications, much of the work has been done in collaboration with colleagues from both within and outside the university. In addition, Professor Ponnambalam is also working in the Application of Intelligent Systems to hydrology and water resources, health decision making, control of satellite communications, and fault detection analysis.






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