Thanos Bourtsalas  

Athanasios Bourtsalas


905D Mudd

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

Research Interests

Sustainable Development, Urban Metabolism, Systems Thinking and Multi-Dimensional Valuation Approaches, Materials Resources Engineering, Circular Economy, Resource Efficiency, Material Flow Analysis, Life Cycle Analysis, Technoeconomic Assessment, Sustainable Waste Management, Energy Systems, Industrial Ecology-Symbiosis

Other Interests

Policy Economics Finance Risk Management

Thanos Bourtsalas investigates ways and technologies for managing impacts associated with anthropogenic activities and advancing sustainable development and the circular economy. His work has been both experimental and analytical and, in this area, he has been recognized as a specialist by the UN, the IFC/World Bank, and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment of Singapore.

His projects focus on system-level technoeconomic and life cycle assessment with emphasis on identifying the intersections between systems capabilities, economics, environment, and regulations, and their position within the local, regional, and global landscape. One of his objectives has been on understanding and improving the performance of systems and engineering clean cycles and safe final sinks by implementing innovation to emerging technologies and evaluating whether these are commercially viable (or what is needed to make these solutions successful). Also, a lot of emphasis is on developing tools to support resource efficiency and rational decision-making about the use of technologies for sustainable development and the circular economy.

International collaborations and interactions with major stakeholders engaged with sustainable development, are a significant part of his work through the global network of the Global WTERT Council (GWC), which he has represented as a Vice President in several activities worldwide, such as China, India, Indonesia, Chile, and Colombia. As part of his work with the GWC, he has conducted due diligence studies for emerging technologies, has advised the investment strategies of both private and public entities, and has developed valuation models for waste management deals.

He received his five-year Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering, from the University of Patras, Greece, and his M.Sc. from the Earth & Environmental Engineering Department of Columbia University. He undertook his Ph.D. studies in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London.


  • Acting Director, Earth Engineering Center, Columbia University, 2020-
  • Associate Director, Earth Engineering Center, Columbia University, 2019-2020
  • Associate Research Scientist, Earth Engineering Center, 2016-2019
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Earth Engineering Center, Columbia University, 2015-2016
  • PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, 2012-2015
  • Research Associate WTERT Council, 2010-2014
  • Center for Life Cycle Analysis, Columbia University, 2008-2010


  • Instructor, Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, 2019-
  • Advisor, United Nations Economic and Social Council: PPP Centre of Excellence, 2017-
  • Vice President, Global WTERT Council, 2015-
  • Advisor, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), 2020-2021
  • Advisor, World Bank, 2018-2020
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, 2015-2019
  • Advisor, Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, Singapore, 2014-2017



Nominated for the 2022 Presidential Awards for Outstanding Teaching


Nominated for the Bodossakis Foundation Distinguished Young Scientists Award (field: Renewable Energy)


PhD early submission award, Imperial College London, UK

2011- 2014

Dixon Presidential Scholarship, Imperial College London, UK

2008- 2010

Full graduate scholarship: Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA


Faculty of Engineering Dean’s Honour List Every Single Academic Term 


  • Registered (Licensed/Chartered) Professional Electrical Engineer in Europe
  • Member of the International Society for Industrial Ecology
  • Member of the Working Group on Energy Recovery-International Solid Waste Association (ISWA)
  • Vice Chair of the Materials and Energy Division of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME-MER)


  • 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
  • Yixi Tian, Nickolas J. Themelis, A.C.(Thanos) Bourtsalas*, Shiho Kawashima, Yuri Gorokhovich, Systematic study of the formation and chemical/mineral composition of waste-to-energy (WTE) fly ash, Materials Chemistry and Physics, 2022, 126849,ISSN 0254-0584. 
  • Wenchao Ma, Jicui Cui, Boré Abdoulaye, Yuan Wang, Huibin Du, Athanasios C. Bourtsalas*, and Guanyi Chen, Air Pollutant Emission Inventory of Waste-to-Energy Plants in China and Prediction by the Artificial Neural Network Approach. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022.
  • AC Bourtsalas*, T Shen, Y Tian, A Comprehensive Assessment of Products Management and Energy Recovery from Waste Products in the United States, Energies 15 (18), 65-81, 2022
  • Bourtsalas, AC Thanos*; Themelis, Nickolas J, Materials and energy recovery at six European MBT plants, Waste Management 141, 79-91, 2022
  • Tian, Yixi; Bourtsalas, AC Thanos*; Kawashima, Shiho; Teng, Xiaoxuan; Themelis, Nickolas J; Performance of Waste-to-Energy fine combined ash/filter cake ash-metakaolin based artificial aggregate, Construction and Building Materials, 327, 127011, 2022
  • Tian, Yixi; Themelis, Nickolas J; Zhao, Diandian; Bourtsalas, AC Thanos*; Kawashima, Shiho; Stabilization of Waste-to-Energy (WTE) fly ash for disposal in landfills or use as cement substitute, Waste Management, 150, 227-243, 2022
  • Sun, Kai; Wang, Wanli; Themelis, Nickolas J; Bourtsalas, AC Thanos; Huang, Qunxing; Catalytic co-pyrolysis of polycarbonate and polyethylene/polypropylene mixtures: Promotion of oil deoxygenation and aromatic hydrocarbon formation, Fuel, 285, 119143, 2021
  • Zhang, Henry; Themelis, Nikolas J; Bourtsalas, Athanasios; Environmental impact assessment of emissions from non-recycled plastic-to-energy processes, Waste Disposal & Sustainable Energy    3, 1, 2021
  • Ma, Wenchao; Ma, Chen; Liu, Xu; Gu, Tianbao; Thengane, Sonal K; Bourtsalas, Athanasios; Chen, Guanyi;  Nox formation in fixed-bed biomass combustion: Chemistry and modelling, Fuel    290, 119694, 2021
  • Themelis, Nickolas J; Bourtsalas, AC Thanos*; Methane Generation and Capture of US Landfills, Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering A, 199-206, 2021
  • Bourtsalas, AC*; Huang, Qunxing; Zhang, Hanwei; Themelis, Nickolas J; Energy recovery in China from solid wastes by the moving grate and circulating fluidized bed technologies, Waste Disposal & Sustainable Energy 2, 1, 27-36, 2020
  • Zhu, Liangliang; Zhao, Wei; Yan, Yuan; Liao, Xiangbiao; Bourtsalas, Athanasios; Dan, Yong; Xiao, Hang; Chen, Xi; Interaction between mechanosensitive channels embedded in lipid membrane. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials 103, 103543, 2020
  • Sun, Kai; Themelis, Nickolas J; Bourtsalas, AC Thanos; Huang, Qunxing;     Selective production of aromatics from waste plastic pyrolysis by using sewage sludge derived char catalyst, Journal of Cleaner Production, 268    , 122038, 2020
  • Tian, Yixi; Bourtsalas, AC Thanos*; Kawashima, Shiho; Ma, Siwei; Themelis, Nickolas J; Performance of structural concrete using Waste-to-Energy (WTE) combined ash. Waste Management, 118, 180-189, 2020
  • Lu, Peng; Huang, Qunxing; Bourtsalas, Athanasios C; Chi, Yong; Yan, Jianhua; Effect of operating conditions on the coke formation and nickel catalyst performance during cracking of tar    Waste and biomass valorization, 10, 1, 155-165, 2019
  • Lu, Peng; Huang, Qunxing; Bourtsalas, AC Thanos; Themelis, Nickolas J; Chi, Yong; Yan, Jianhua; Review on fate of chlorine during thermal processing of solid wastes, Journal of Environmental Sciences, 78, 13-28, 2019
  • Bourtsalas, AC Thanos*; Themelis, Nickolas J; Major sources of mercury emissions to the atmosphere: The US case, Waste Management, 85, 90-94, 2019
  • Bourtsalas, AC Thanos*; Seo, Yoonjung; Alam, Md Tanvir; Seo, Yong-Chil;     The status of waste management and waste to energy for district heating in South Korea, Waste Management, 85, 304-316, 2019
  • Wang, Wanli; Themelis, Nickolas J; Sun, Kai; Bourtsalas, Athanasios C; Huang, Qunxing; Zhang, Yunhe; Wu, Zhaohui; Current influence of China’s ban on plastic waste imports, Waste Disposal & Sustainable Energy, 1, 1, 67-78, 2019
  • Vehlow, Juergen; Bourtsalas, AC*; WTE: Management of WTE Residues in Europe Recovery of Materials and Energy from Urban Wastes, 159-181, 2019
  • Bourtsalas, AC*; WTE: Non-recycled Combustible Wastes in Cement Production, Recovery of Materials and Energy from Urban Wastes, 141-157, 2019
  • Kyriakis, Efstathios; Psomopoulos, Constantinos; Kokkotis, Panagiotis; Bourtsalas, Athanasios; Themelis, Nikolaos; 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, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25, 27, 26715-26724, 2018
  • Bourtsalas, AC Thanos*; Zhang, Jiao; Castaldi, MJ; Themelis, NJ; Karaiskakis, Alexandros N; Use of non-recycled plastics and paper as alternative fuel in cement production, Journal of cleaner production, 181, 2018
  • Lu, Peng; Huang, Qunxing; Bourtsalas, AC Thanos; Chi, Yong; Yan, Jianhua; Synergistic effects on char and oil produced by the co-pyrolysis of pine wood, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride, Fuel 230, 359-367, 2018
  • Lu, Peng; Huang, Qunxing; Bourtsalas, AC Thanos; Chi, Yong; Yan, Jianhua; Experimental research of basic properties and reactivity of waste derived chars, Applied Thermal Engineering, 119, 639-649, 2017
  • Hu, Binhang; Huang, Qunxing; Bourtsalas, AC Thanos; Ali, Mujahid; Chi, Yong; Yan, Jianhua; Effect of chlorine on the structure and reactivity of char derived from solid waste, Energy & Fuels, 31, 7, 7606-7616, 2017
  • Koralewska, Ralf; Cheeseman, Christopher R; Bourtsalas, Athanasios*; Keramische Werkstoffe aus trocken ausgetragener Feinfraktion der Rostschlacke, Waste Management, 6, 445-456, 2016
  • Bourtsalas, A Thanos*; Detsch, Rainer; Boccaccini, Aldo R; Cheeseman, Christopher; Initial studies on the cytotoxicity of ceramics prepared from dry discharge incinerator bottom ash dust, Ceramics International, 42, 15, 17924-17927, 2016
  • Vardelle, Armelle; Moreau, Christian; Akedo, Jun; Ashrafizadeh, Hossein; Berndt, Christopher C; Berghaus, Jörg Oberste; Boulos, Maher; Brogan, Jeffrey; Bourtsalas, Athanasios C; Dolatabadi, Ali; The 2016 thermal spray roadmap, Journal of thermal spray technology, 25, 8, 1376-1440, 2016
  • Bourtsalas, Athanasios*; Vandeperre, LJ; Grimes, SM; Themelis, Nickolas; Cheeseman, Christopher R; Production of pyroxene ceramics from the fine fraction of incinerator bottom ash, Waste management, 45, 217-225, 2015
  • Bourtsalas, Athanasios*; Vandeperre, Luc; Grimes, Sue; Themelis, Nicolas; Koralewska, Ralf; Cheeseman, Chris; Properties of ceramics prepared using dry discharged waste to energy bottom ash dust, Waste Management & Research, 33, 9, 794-804, 2015
  • Kalogirou, Efstratios; Bourtsalas, Athanasios; Klados, Manolis; Themelis, Nickolas J; Waste management in Greece and potential for waste-to-energy, Waste to Energy, 219-235, 2012