Professor Heather MacLean

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Heather MacLean
Dept. of Civil Engineering
University of Toronto
35 St. George St.
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M5S 1A4

Tel: 416-946-5056
Fax: 416-978-6813

Research Interests

My overall aim is to advance scientific and engineering knowledge in the developing field of systems analysis for sustainable engineering. My primary area of research involves developing and applying life cycle assessment and techno-economic methods to evaluate the technical and externality impacts of conventional and alternative energy and transportation systems and elements of the built environment more generally. The research is interdisciplinary, incorporating civil, environmental, chemical and mechanical engineering, economics and public policy components to name a few. I collaborate with both the public and private sectors on the research projects.

Recent topics of focus include;

  • Life cycle assessment and techno-economic methods incorporating uncertainty
  • Sustainable infrastructure
  • Bioenergy systems including biobased electricity and liquid fuels (ethanol, hydrogen, and aviation fuels)
  • Conventional and alternative light-duty and medium-duty vehicles
  • Conventional and unconventional fossil fuels
  • Sustainable and resilient cities

Education and Affiliations

BEng (C.E.) (Dalhousie/TUNS)
MBA (St. Mary's)
MSc (Carnegie Mellon)
PhD (Carnegie Mellon)


Course Code Title & Description Instructor Session Day(s) Start Time End Location(s)

Prof. Heather Maclean Summer 2018 May 1-4, 7-11, 16, 23, 29, 30. 10:00 13:00 TBD
CIV460H Prof. Heather Maclean Winter 2018 Scheduled by the Office of the Faculty Registrar.

Current Research Projects (Selected)

  • Techno-economic analysis of DME Production from Biomass, Biogas and Natural Gas and Use as a Transportation Fuel. BioFuelNet Network Centre of Excellence.
  • Lightweighting and Life Cycle Assessment of Light-duty Vehicles. Ford Motor Company.
  • Development and Application of a Novel Life Cycle-Based Framework: Towards a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Strategy for Canada. Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
  • Environmental and Economic Analysis on a Life Cycle Basis of Canadian Hydrogen Sources for Biofuel Production (Co-PI with B. Saville). BioFuelNet Network Centre of Excellence.
  • Life Cycle Assessment of Advanced (Steam Treated) Wood Pellets for Electricity Generation in Ontario. (H. MacLean, PI, B. Saville, U of T., J. McKechnie, U of Nottingham). Ontario Power Generation.
  • Program in Environmentally Sustainable Aviation. D. Zingg, University of Toronto, PI. NSERC CREATE Research and Training.
  • Sustainable and Resilient African Cities. With D. Hoornweg, UOIT. Centre for Global Engineering, University of Toronto.
  • Food Drying in Small Cooperatives in Developing Countries. With M. Touchie. Centre for Global Engineering, University of Toronto.
  • Life Cycle Assessment of Current and Emerging Oil Sands Technologies (LCA-OST Project). Co-PI with J. Bergerson, University of Calgary.

Research Group

Postdoctoral Fellows
  • Caroline Vanderghem 
  • Khojasteh Salkuyeh, Y. 
PhD students
  • Chibulu Luo 
  • Alexandre Milovanoff 
  • Jon Obnamia 
  • Diana Pacheco Rodriguez 
  • Sylvia Sleep 
  • Donna Vakalis
MASc Students
  • Marina Vera Zambrano

Previous Members of the Research Group

Visiting Scholars
  • Marcelle McManus
    University of Bath, 2017
  • Akifumi Ogino, 2009.
Post-Doctoral Fellows
  • Luk, J.
    Ph.D. Supervised 2015-2017. Currently Ontario Environmental Commissioners Office. Toronto, ON
  • Pereira, L.
    Ph.D. Supervised 2014-2016. Currently researcher at CTBE, Campinas, Brazil.
  • Pourbafrani, M.
    Ph.D. 2011-2014. Currently process engineer at Gay Lea, Toronto, ON.
  • Nizami, A-S.
    2011-2013. Currently Assistant Professor, Centre of Excellence in Environmental Studies (CEES), King AbdulAziz University, Saudi Arabia.
  • McKechnie, J.
    Ph.D. Toronto. 2012. Currently Lecturer at University of Nottingham, UK.
  • McKellar, J.
    Ph.D. Toronto. Co-supervised 2012. Currently Assistant Professor, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).
  • Sanscartier, D.
    2009-2010. Currently at the Saskatchewan Research Council, Saskatoon, SK.
  • Zhang, Q.
    Ph.D. University of Toronto. 2009-2010. Currently Research Scientist at Oakridge National Laboratory, Oakridge, TN
  • Kofoworola, O.
    Supervised 2008-2010.
  • Habibi, Shiva, Dr. 
    2004-2006. Currently employed at Ontario Power Generation, Pickering, ON.
  • Kalogo, Youssouf, Dr.
    2004-2005. Currently at Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Toronto, ON.
PhD Alumni
  • Luk, Jason
    Displacing Petroleum Use in Light-Duty Vehicles. Completed 2015. Policy Analyst, Ontario Environmental Commissioner's Office. Toronto, ON.
  • McKechnie, Jon
    Assessing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mitigation Potential through the Use of Forest Bioenergy. Completed 2012. Assistant Professor University of Nottingham, UK.
  • McKellar, Jennifer
    Techno-Economic and Environmental Assessments of Replacing Conventional Fossil Fuels: Oil Sands Industry Case Studies. 2012. Assistant Professor University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
  • Charpentier, Alex
    Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Oil Sands Technologies. Completed September 2010. City of Vancouver, BC.
  • Zhang, Yimin
    Life Cycle Environmental and Cost Evaluation of Bioenergy Systems. Complete 2010. U.S. Dept. of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO.
  • Spatari, Sabrina
    Biomass to Ethanol Pathways: Evaluation of Lignocellulosic Ethanol Production Technologies. Completed 2007. Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil and Architectural Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.
MASc Alumni
  • Pourbafrani, H.
    Life Cycle and Techno-Economic Analysis of Fischer-Tropsch Renewable Diesel and Jet Fuel Production. Co-supervised with B. Saville. 2016
  • Zhou, Mo (Taylor)
    Life Cycle Emissions and Lifetime Costs of Medium-duty Diesel and Alternative Fuel Trucks. A Case Study for Toronto. Co-supervised with M. Roorda. 2016
  • Zhong, Margaret
    Life cycle external cost evaluation of crude oil transportation options. 2015
  • Chu, Pei Lin
    Environmental and Financial Performance: Aviation Biofuels. Co-supervised with B. Saville. 2014
  • Rispoli, Katherine
    Life Cycle and Supply Assessment of Aviation Biofuels in the Canadian Context. 2014
  • Gerbrandt, Kelsey
    The Impacts of Xylitol Production from Hemicellulose Residues: Process Design, Life Cycle and Techno-Economic Assessment.  Co-supervised with B. Saville. 2014
  • Friere-Gormaly, Marina
    The Pore Structure of Indiana Limestone and Pink Dolomite for the Modeling of Carbon Dioxide in Geologic Carbonate Rock Formations. Co-supervised with A.  Bazylak. 2013
  • Misra, Aarshabh
    An Integrated Modeling Approach to Estimate Urban Traffic Emissions. Co-supervised with M. Roorda. 2012
  • Shen, Tim
    Life Cycle Modeling of Lignocellulosic Ethanol and Co-products. Co-supervised with B. Saville. 2012
  • Raykin, Leon
    Impacts of Driving Patterns on Well-to-Wheel Performance of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles. Co-supervised with M. Roorda. 2011
  • Gronowska, Magdalena
    An Evaluation of U.S. and Canadian Biomass Availability and Ethanol Production Costs. 2008
  • Tripp, Bryan
    Evaluating the Life Cycle of Biodiesel in North America. 2008
  • Ferguson, Thomas
    Canada and United States Household Consumption: An Input-Output Life Cycle Comparison of Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. 2007
  • Norman, Jon
    A Novel Environmental Economic Model for Policy Analysis in Canada and the United States. 2005
  • Kuber, Kathryn
    Air Emissions from Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Supply Options. 2005
  • Wong, Vicky
    Technical Aspects of Energy Recovery Options for Wastewater Treatment Plants. With D. Bagley. 2005
  • Duval, Don
    The Value of Product Information in Life Cycle Management. 2005
  • Fleming, Jesse S.
    Life Cycle Assessment of Lignocellulose-Based Hydrogen and Fischer-Tropsch Diesel in Light-Duty Vehicles. 2005
  • Liu, Jianhua
    Evaluating Economic Feasibility of Energy Recovery from Anaerobic Digestion of Wastewater Solids. With D. Bagley. 2005
  • Zhang, Yimin
    Evaluation of Lignocellulosic Derived Fuels for the Canada/U.S. Light-Duty Vehicle Fleets. 2005
  • Samokhina, Natalia
    Evaluation of Infrastructure Requirements for a Lignocellulosic Ethanol Fueled Light Duty Fleet for Ontario. 2004
  • Wright, Wesley
    Life Cycle Costing of Energy Recovery from Anaerobically Treated Municipal Biosolids. With D. Bagley. 2003
Master of Engineering
  • Saedi Khameneh, Sophia
    Towards a Resilient Community by Addressing Pathways of Exposure to the Critical Infrastructures. 2014
  • MacKinnon, Loche
    Reducing GHG Emissions from the Electricity Sector. 2011
Master of Public Policy
  • Ruch, Kaleb
    Green Energy Programs in Ontario. 2008
  • Hilderman, Jane


2017 Canadian Academy of Engineering
2017 Dr. Albert E. Berry Medal. Environmental Engineering Division. Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. Awarded for making an outstanding contribution to the field of environmental engineering in Canada.
2016 Fellow, Engineering Institute of Canada
2015 1st Place Student Poster Competition Project 6. Jon Obnamia, PhD student and Bradley Saville. BioFuelNet Advanced Biofuels Symposium. July 22-24. Montreal, QB.
2014 Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Excellence in Education Award for Promotion of Sustainable Practices
2013 Outstanding Paper Award. University of Toronto Institute for Sustainable Energy. With Jason Luk, Ph.D. student.
2012 Outstanding Paper Award. University of Toronto Institute for Sustainable Energy. With Leon Raykin, prior MASc. student.
2012 Best in Theme (Design Processes) Project Display, AUTO21 Network Centres of Excellence 2012 Annual Scientific Conference. May 29-31, 2012 Montreal, QB.
2011 Best Project Display, 3rd Place, AUTO21 Network Centres of Excellence 2011 Annual Scientific Conference, May 26-28, Ottawa ON
2005 Early Researcher Award, Evaluation of the Sustainability Implications of Bioenergy Alternatives for Canada


Peer Reviewed Journals

See over 80 citations on Google Scholar

Book Chapters
  • Saville, B.A., Griffin, W.M., MacLean, H.L. Ethanol use in the US: Status, threats and the potential future. pp. 164-181. In: Global Bioethanol: Evolution, Risks, and Uncertainties, S. Salles-Filho, (ed). Elsevier. 2016.
  • Griffin, W.M., Saville, B.A., MacLean, H.L. Ethanol production technologies in the US: Status and future developments. pp. 34-62. In: Global Bioethanol: Evolution, Risks, and Uncertainties, S. Salles-Filho, (ed). Elsevier. 2016.
  • Nizami, A-S., Saville, B.A., MacLean, H.L.  Anaerobic Digesters: Perspectives and Challenges in Bioenergy Production by Anaerobic Digestion Using Agricultural Biomass and Organic Waste. Korres, N.E., O’Kiely, P., Benzie, J.A.H. Eds. Earthscan from Rutledge. Oxon. 2013. pp. 139-151.
  • Zhang, Y., Spatari, S., McKechnie, J., MacLean, H.L. Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Lignocellulose-to-Bioalcohol Production in Bioalcohol Production: Biochemical Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass. K. Waldron, Ed. Woodhead Publishing Ltd. Cambridge, UK. 2010. pp 365-390.
  • MacLean, H.L. Part Two: Electricity's Role in Reducing the Environmental Footprint of Energy Use – Introduction in Current Affairs: Perspectives on Electricity Policy for Ontario. Reeve, D., Dewees D.N., and Karney, B.W. Eds. University of Toronto Press. 2010. Pp. 35-39.
  • MacLean, H.L., Duchin, F., Hagelüken,C., Halada, K., Kesler, S., Moriguchi, Y., Mueller, D., Norgate, T., Reuter, M., van der Voet, E. Mineral Resources: Stocks, Flows and Prospects in Linkages of Sustainability. Graedel, T.E. and van der Voet, E. Eds. Ernst Strungmann Forum. 2010. MIT Press and the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies. Pp. 199-218.
  • Matthews, H. S., F. McMichael, L. Lave, MacLean, H.L. Life Cycle Analysis as a Tool for Product Design in Encyclopedia of Materials: Science and Technology, K. H. J. Buschow et al. Eds. Pergamon. 2008.
  • Hendrickson, C.T., Lave, L.B., Matthews, H.S., Horvath, A., Joshi, S., McMichael, F.C., MacLean, H., Cicas, G., Matthews, D., Bergerson, J. Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Goods and Services. Resources for the Future (RFF) Press. 2006.
  • Matthews, S., L. Lave, MacLean, H. Life Cycle Impact Analysis: A Challenge for Risk Analysts in Human and Ecological Risk Assessment:  Theory and Practice.  Paustenbach, D. Ed. Wiley Inc. 2002.
Refereed Conference Papers
  1. Luo, C., MacLean, H.L., Hoornweg, D. A spatial planning approach to assessing energy resource flows in African cities, SETUSA 2017 Conference, Accra, Ghana. June 19-20, 2017.
  2. Luk, J.M., Kim, H.C., De Kleine, R., Wallington, T.J., MacLean, H.L. Impact of Powertrain Type on Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions of a Real World Lightweight Glider. SAE Technical Paper. SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-1274, 2017, doi: 10.4271/2017-01-1274.
  3. Mendoza Gonzalez, E., Saucedo Martínez, J.A. MacLean, H.L. Mathematical Model of Intermodal Transport, Incorporating Sustainability. Congreso Internacional de Logística y Cadena de Suministro (CiLOG2016). Merida, Mexico. October 5-7. 2016.
  4. Luo, C. MacLean, H.L., Hay, A. Improving the Resilience of Buildings: An Integrated Approach to Measuring Optimum Density. Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) Conference, Toronto, Canada, September 19-20, 2016.
  5. Freire-Gormaly, H. MacLean, A. Bazylak, MicroCT Investigations and Pore Network Reconstructions of Limestone and Carbonate-Based Rocks for Deep Geologic Carbon Sequestration, ASME 2012 - 6th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, July 23-26, 2012, San Diego, California.
  6. Hoy, G., Misra, A., Mostafa, T., Roorda, M.J., MacLean, H.L., Verifying The Accuracy Of Emissions Modelling In An Urban Setting Using Microsimulation, Canadian Transportation Research Forum, 47th Annual Conference, Calgary, June 3-6, 2012.
  7. Raykin, L., MacLean, H. L., and Roorda, M. J. Implications of driving patterns on well-to-wheel performance of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.  Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting; January 22-26 2012, Washington, D.C.
  8. Sarathy, M.S., Zhang, Y., M. Griffin, Thomson, M.J., MacLean, H. Life Cycle Assessment of Butanol for Use in Transportation Applications. 8th World Congress of Chemical Engineering Conference. Montreal, August 23-26th, 2009.
  9. McKellar, J.M., Charpentier, A.D., Bergerson, J.A., MacLean, H.L. A Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Perspective on Liquid Fuels from Canadian and U.S. Unconventional Fossil Sources. Global Conference on Global Warming (GCGW-08), Istanbul, Turkey, July 6-10, 2008.
  10. Fleming, J., Habibi, S., H.L. MacLean, Brinkman, N.  Evaluating the Sustainability of Producing Hydrogen from Biomass through Well-to-Wheel Analyses.  2005 Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress.  Detroit, MI.  April 11-14, 2005. SAE Transactions (also published as peer-reviewed journal publication under the SAE Transactions designation – see above). 2005-01-1552.
  11. MacLean, H.L., Lave, L.B., Griffin, M., Joshi, S. Evaluation of Lignocellulosic Ethanol to Fuel the USA-Canadian Light Duty Transportation Fleet.  Proceedings of the Society of Automotive Engineers Environmental Sustainability Conference, April 8-10, 2002. Graz, Austria.  2001-01-3739.
  12. Lave, L.B., MacLean, H.L. An Environmental-Economic Evaluation of Hybrid Electric and other Advanced Vehicles.  Proceedings of the Society of Automotive Engineers Environmental Sustainability Conference, April 8-10, 2002. Graz, Austria.  2001-01-3738.
  13. Lave, L.B., MacLean, H.L. Cobas-Flores, E. Evaluating the Environmental Advantages of Advanced Vehicles. Future Transportation Technologies Conference. Society of Automotive Engineers. Conference, August 2000. CA. 2000-01-3102.
  14. MacLean, H.L., Lave, L.B. Addressing Vehicle Equivalency to Facilitate Meaningful Automobile Comparisons. Society of Automotive Engineers, Total Life Cycle Conference, April 26-28, 2000. Detroit, MI. 2000-01-1474.
  15. MacLean, H.L., Lave, L.B. Alternative Vehicle Power Sources:  Towards a Life Cycle Inventory Meeting Where Presented:  Total Life Cycle Conference and Exposition, April 26-28, 2000. Detroit, MI. 2000-01-1478.
Popular Press Articles
  • McKellar, J., Bergerson, J.A., MacLean, H.L. Transforming Energy: Powering Tomorrow Begins with Using Less Today. Alternatives Journal Special Issue. Canada’s Map to Sustainability. 2015. 41(1):52-56.
  • Pourbafrani, M., McKechnie, J., Saville, B.A., MacLean, H.L. Bioplastic Products from Citrus Waste Bioplastics MAGAZINE. Polymedia Publisher GmbH. April 2013. (Invited). Refereed.
  • MacLean, Heather. Improving Sustainability. Autoplant Supplement. March 2005. 26. (Invited)
  • Duval, D., MacLean, H.L. Keeping the Options Open. Environmental Finance. 6(2). 2004. 29.