Athanasios Bourtsalas


905D Mudd

Tel(212) 854-2138
Fax(212) 854-7081

Thanos Bourtsalas focuses on “urban mining,” the recovery of energy and metals/minerals from urban and industrial residues. His research has applications in civil and environmental engineering and puts him in collaboration with diverse disciplines such as industrial engineering, public health and policy, and environmental economics.

Research Interests

Civil and environmental engineering, energy engineering, sustainable development

Other Interests

Energy and Resource Efficiency Industrial Ecology Circular Economy Materials Processing Sustainability Economics Policy risk management

Bourtsalas focuses on systems for sustainable development with an emphasis on process engineering, sustainability economics, and public policy. He is the vice president of research, development, and deployment at Global WTERT (Global Waste to Energy Research & Technology) Council, Inc. where he directs technoeconomic and business model studies for the use of urban and industrial residues for the production of energy, fuels, and materials.

Bourtsalas is the senior advisor to the World Bank Group on the development of investment criteria for sustainable development projects, and the senior advisor to a UN committee for the development of sustainable development standards and a toolkit for Public and Private Partnerships (PPP) for signatories of the UN Paris Agreement. He was on the technical advisory panel of Singapore’s Environmental Protection Agency for guidelines for the beneficial utilization of Waste-to-Energy Bottom Ash. He is also a co-author to the Solid Waste chapter of the Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities (ARC3-2), developed by the Earth Institute of Columbia University and presented at the COP 21 in Paris.

Bourtsalas obtained his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Patras (Greece), his MS in Earth Resources Engineering from Columbia University and his PhD from Imperial College London in Civil and Environmental Engineering.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Earth Engineering Center, Columbia University, 2015-2016
  • PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, 2012-2015
  • Center for Life Cycle Analysis, Columbia University, 2008-2010


  • Lecturer, Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, 2019-Present
  • Vice President, Global WTERT Council, 2015-Present
  • Advisor, World Bank, 2019-2020
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, 2015-2019
  • Advisor, United Nations Economic Cooperation for Europe (UNECE), 2017-2019
  • Advisor, Ministry of Environment- Environmental Protection Agency, Singapore, 2015-2017


  • Registered (Licensed/Chartered) Professional Electrical Engineer in Europe
  • Working Group on Energy Recovery-International Solid Waste Association
  • American Society for Mechanical Engineers


  • Recovery of Materials and Energy from Urban Wastes, A Volume in the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology, Second Edition, Springer, Editors, Nickolas J. Themelis, A.C. (Thanos) Bourtsalas, 2019
  • The status of waste management and waste to energy for district heating in South Korea, ACT Bourtsalas, Y Seo, MT Alam, YC Seo, Waste management 85, 304-316, 2019
  • Major sources of mercury emissions to the atmosphere: The US case, ACT Bourtsalas, NJ Themelis, Waste management 85, 90-94, 2019
  • Use of non-recycled plastics and paper as alternative fuel in cement production, ACT Bourtsalas, J Zhang, MJ Castaldi, NJ Themelis, Journal of Cleaner Production 181, 8-16, 2018
  • Synergistic effects on char and oil produced by the co-pyrolysis of pine wood, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride, P Lu, Q Huang, ACT Bourtsalas, Y Chi, J Yan, Fuel 230, 359-367, 2018
  • A step by step selection method for the location and the size of a waste-to-energy facility targeting the maximum output energy and minimization of gate fee, E Kyriakis, C Psomopoulos, P Kokkotis, A Bourtsalas, N Themelis, Environmental Science and Pollution Research 25 (27), 26715-26724 3, 2018
  • Review on fate of chlorine during thermal processing of solid wastes, P Lu, Q Huang, ACT Bourtsalas, NJ Themelis, Y Chi, J Yan, Journal of Environmental Sciences, 2, 2018
  • Experimental research of basic properties and reactivity of waste derived chars, P Lu, Q Huang, ACT Bourtsalas, Y Chi, J Yan, Applied Thermal Engineering 119, 639-649, 2017
  • Effect of chlorine on the structure and reactivity of char derived from solid waste, B Hu, Q Huang, ACT Bourtsalas, M Ali, Y Chi, J Yan, Energy & fuels 31 (7), 7606-7616, 2017
  • Production of pyroxene ceramics from the fine fraction of incinerator bottom ash, A Bourtsalas, LJ Vandeperre, SM Grimes, N Themelis, CR Cheeseman, Waste Management 45, 217-225, 2015