Heather MacLean


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.

Education and Affiliations

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

Research Interests

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

Presentations & Projects

  • 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. http://www.ucalgary.ca/lcaost/


See over 80 citations on Google ScholarPeer Reviewed Journals
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
Sarathy, M.S., Zhang, Y., M. Griffin, Thomson, M.J., MacLean, H.L. Life Cycle Assessment of Butanol for Use in Transportation Applications. 8th World Congress of Chemical Engineering Conference. Montreal, August 23-26th, 2009.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
Fleming, J., Habibi, S., MacLean, H.L., 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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Refereed Conference Papers
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.Book Chapters
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.Book Chapters
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.Book Chapters
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.Book Chapters
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.Book Chapters
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.Book Chapters
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.Book Chapters
Hendrickson, C.T., Lave, L.B., Matthews, H.S., Horvath, A., Joshi, S., McMichael, F.C., MacLean, H.L., Cicas, G., Matthews, D., Bergerson, J.  Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Goods and Services.  Resources for the Future (RFF) Press. 2006.Book Chapters
Matthews, S., L. Lave, MacLean, H.L. Life Cycle Impact Analysis: A Challenge for Risk Analysts in  Human and Ecological Risk Assessment:  Theory and Practice .  Paustenbach, D. Ed. Wiley Inc. 2002.Book Chapters
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.Popular Press Articles
Pourbafrani, M., McKechnie, J., Saville, B.A., MacLean, H.L. Bioplastic Products from Citrus Waste Bioplastics MAGAZINE. Polymedia Publisher GmbH. April 2013. (Invited). Refereed.Popular Press Articles
MacLean, Heather. Improving Sustainability. Autoplant Supplement. March 2005. 26. (Invited)Popular Press Articles
Duval, D., MacLean, H.L. Keeping the Options Open. Environmental Finance. 6(2). 2004. 29.Popular Press Articles


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


Course CodeTitle & DescriptionSessionDay(s)Start TimeEndSection
NOT OFFERED 2021-20220101


Previous Members of the Research Group

News Mentions

CivMin study: Electric vehicles can fight climate change, but they’re not a silver bullet

Today there are more than 7 million electric vehicles (EVs) in operation around the world, compared with only about 20,000 a decade ago. It’s a massive change — but according to a group of U of T Engineering researchers, it won’t be nearly enough to address the global climate crisis.  “A lot of people think that a large-scale shift… Read more »

Low-carbon growth in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania | A workshop on governance and finance strategies organized by PhD Candidate, Chibulu Luo

On Wednesday, November 7th, the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering co-hosted a one-day stakeholder workshop on “Steering Low-Carbon Growth and Sustainable Energy Use in Dar es Salaam” in partnership with the International Growth Centre (IGC) and Ardhi University. The workshop, whose preparations were led by Chibulu Luo (PhD Candidate, CivE), was held at the Bank of… Read more »

Green infrastructure: New tool to help construction industry reduce carbon footprint

A team of researchers from U of T Engineering is partnering with the construction industry to help reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, bridges, public transit and other major infrastructure projects. “What we’re building is a decision-support tool that can be used in the early stages of design and planning,” says Professor Heather MacLean (CivE), one of… Read more »


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


Office: SF3001D

Tel: 416-946-5056


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