Western Engineering welcomes new Research Chair in Urban Resilience and Sustainability


In January 2018, Dr. Hassan Peerhossaini joined Western Engineering’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, with a cross-appointment with the Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, as the Western Research Chair in Urban Resilience and Sustainability.

Peerhossaini brings a wealth of experience to Western Engineering, serving as a member of the French High Council of Mechanics, Scientific Councilor of the French High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education, Founder and Director of the Energy of Tomorrow program at the Unversité Sorbonne Paris Cité, previous Deputy Director of the Interdisciplinary Energy program of the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) and member of several national and international scientific committees.

Peerhossaini’s research interests lie in interdisciplinary approaches to energy systems and their social and economic impacts, with a focus in areas such as physics of turbulence, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and the dynamics of active matter.

Prior to joining Western Engineering, Peerhossaini served as Distinguished Professor of Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer at the University of Paris (France), where in 2012, he co-founded and chaired the Paris Interdisciplinary Energy Research Institute (PIERI).

PIERI is a research institute developed in response to environmental concerns and the challenges of energy transition. The institute’s objectives are to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on energy issues, nurture fundamental discoveries on energy sourcing, promote knowledge transfer to companies, understand societal impacts and inform policy-making processes.

“This is a unique model where we tackle energy issues not only from scientific and engineering aspects, but also from social, economical, geographic and historical aspects,” said Peerhossaini. “I would like to develop a similar research model here at Western on the transition to global sustainability and natural disaster mitigation and adaptation.”

Peerhossaini is in the early stages of establishing a new global research institute at Western that will focus on interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to the global climate change adaptation, natural disaster mitigation, environmental sustainability and green energy, particularly as they are related to built environment.

“Western has several areas of established research excellence such as wind engineering, green energy, environmental sustainability, natural disaster mitigation, human environment analysis, sustainable business and environmental hazards and health, all of which can be potential contributors to this global research institute,” said Peerhossaini.

With regard to societal impact, Peerhossaini’s research works toward energy saving in the process industry as well as the production of better and more pure products such as food, and cosmetic and pharmaceutical products by implementing multifunctional chemical reactors into the production processes.

Peerhossaini’s most recent research focuses on biosolar energy, where he studies the production of biofuels as well as chemical molecules of medical and cosmetic interest through photosynthesis of bacteria and algae in photobioreactors. More specifically, he uses this process for energy efficiency in residential and tertiary buildings in cities, by adapting photobioreactors to be used as building facades, to generate biomass from sunlight and carbon dioxide extracted from the street.

“This is a double interest process,” added Peerhossaini, “since it allows carbon dioxide capture from the environment and provides added value through the production of bio-products.”

Peerhossaini stressed the urgency to address the complexity of the challenges that cover climate, environment and energy, and he remains very optimistic for how he and Western’s team of researchers can make an impact.

“I believe that research, innovation and collaboration within Western can greatly contribute to a sustainable future on Earth.”