Geospatial Energy Resources & Life Cycle Assessment (GERLCA) Research Group

Marie-Odile P. Fortier, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Sustainability in Arid Lands
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Welcome to GERLCA

The Geospatial Energy Resources & Life Cycle Assessment (GERLCA, pronounced GIRL-kah) research group is the full name of our lab which I (Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier) founded upon starting a faculty position at UC Merced and which I moved to UNLV in 2022. Although a variety of research projects and topics are studied in GERLCA, they fall under one primary goal: to understand the life cycle climate change impacts of human-made systems. The primary tool that we use is life cycle assessment (LCA), a holistic quantitative methodology to calculate environmental impacts from cradle to grave, including the impacts of background processes within the life cycle and supply chain of a system.A major research area in GERLCA involves geographically-specific LCA of emerging energy technologies. Our research group understands that (1) renewable energy and bioenergy systems are not necessarily “zero carbon” and (2) identifying the conditions under which these technologies would cause unintendedly high climate change impacts provides the means to improve our energy transition and avoid “greenwashing” so that truly impactful climate change mitigation efforts can be implemented.In these endeavors, we value objectivity and transparency. We do not hold a bias towards or against any emerging technology; we rely on thorough analyses to inform recommendations. We aim to communicate our work clearly to the scientific community and to the general public, describing and justifying the explicit conditions modeled, our sources of data, and the uncertainty and variability within our results. We place our results in the context of climate change mitigation efforts to provide actionable recommendations based on sound analyses.We keep in mind that climate change is a crisis that not only threatens natural environments and biota, but also disproportionately impacts underprivileged populations globally. Consequently, an energy transition that demonstrably minimizes climate change impacts is imperative for climate justice and environmental protection. Our research efforts contribute to this facet of the action needed to mitigate climate change.


Inclusive Values

I aim for GERLCA to be an inclusive and equitable research group with a work environment that embraces neurodiversity and is respectful of members' identities, lived experiences, and perspectives. We welcome and support women, LGBTQ2SIA+, BIPOC, neurodivergent, undocumented, and first-generation members, researchers with disabilities (including non-apparent disabilities), and other identities that have been systematically minoritized/marginalized in science and engineering. We also respect our members' privacy in the identities that they prefer not to disclose.


Land Acknowledgment

As a member of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas community, I wish to acknowledge and honor the Indigenous communities of this region as the original possessors, stewards, and inhabitants of this land. I recognize that the university is situated on the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary homelands of the Nuwuvi, Southern Paiute People. I offer gratitude for the opportunity to study, learn, work, and be in community with this land, while building awareness of the history and legacy of settler colonialism.Furthermore, as a non-Indigenous person descended from settlers, I also affirm my respect and gratitude to the Native people of the other lands in which I have lived: the Mi'kma'ki, Seminole, Timucua, Taino, Tequesta, Miccosukee, Mascogo, Kansa, Osage, Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee), and Yokuts people.

Updates

11/18/2022 - Congratulations to GERLCA undergraduate researcher Sierra Lema for being awarded as the Outstanding Student of the Fall 2022 Environmental Engineering graduating class at UC Merced!10/7/2022 - Dr. Fortier attended the 2022 American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference in Palm Springs, CA and served as a judge of student research posters.10/1/2022 - Dr. Fortier is a seed grant awardee through the activities of the NSF Artificial Intelligence on SUSTainable
Energy Infrastructure Network (AI SUSTEIN)
grant #2119691, headed by Dr. Ying Huang at North Dakota State University, and with Dr. Eakalak Khan and Dr. Erica Marti as UNLV PI and Co-PI, respectively.
9/30/2022 - Dr. Fortier traveled to Riverdale, CA for data collection as the co-PI on a newly funded USDA Wood Innovations project (lead PI: Gerardo Diaz, UC Merced).8/30/2022 - Welcome to Santiago Cisneros Castillo, Dr. Fortier's first graduate student at UNLV! Santiago was previously an undergraduate researcher in GERLCA while earning his Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering at UC Merced.8/24/2022 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited talk at the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas, NV titled "Applications of life cycle assessment (LCA) in interdisciplinary research on climate change mitigation."7/22/2022 - Our study titled Integrated stochastic life cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis for shrub willow production in the northeastern United States was published in Sustainability. The first author is SUNY ESF PhD graduate Dr. Jenny R. Frank and this work was funded by USDA grants.7/1/2022 - Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier is now faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)! Our GERLCA research group is temporarily across two universities as our PhD candidates Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling and Amir Sharafi complete their doctoral degrees in Environmental Systems at UC Merced.5/14/2022 - Congratulations to Christy Duong, Jose Lopez-Vela, Sonia Ronquillo Perez, and Alexis Smith, our GERLCA undergraduate researchers who are graduating with their Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering!4/20/2022 - GERLCA undergraduate researcher Alexis Smith was awarded as the Outstanding Student of the Spring 2022 Environmental Engineering graduating class at UC Merced! Congratulations, Alexis!3/7/2022 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited talk titled "Site-specific considerations for climate change mitigation through new energy systems" at the Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) 2022 Research Symposium.

2/28/2022 - Former GERLCA undergraduate researcher Miguel Gongora Melara (who is now an Associate Engineer at Northrop Grumman) gave an invited presentation at our research group meeting on transitioning from undergraduate studies to the engineering workforce. Thank you for answering questions and sharing your experience with our current researchers, Miguel!2/18/2022 - Our study titled Assessing Indian Point's electricity generation through renewable energy pathways: a technical and economic analysis was published in Energy & Environment. The first author is SUNY ESF doctoral candidate Jenny R. Frank, and this work was funded by a Syracuse Center of Excellence grant (PI: Dr. Tristan Brown, SUNY ESF).12/31/2021 - Our research group's general LCA codes authored by Dr. Fortier are now publicly released as a GitHub package at https://github.com/GERLCA/GERLCA_parametric_LCA.12/17/2021 - Ravinderjit Sidhu and Stephanie Orozco, undergraduate researchers in GERLCA, have graduated! Ravinderjit earned his Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering and Stephanie earned her Bachelor's in Environmental Engineering. Congratulations to both!

[Screenshot credits: 2021 UC Merced School of Engineering Virtual Commencement at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKCynqW_qr8]

12/14/2021 - Farhana Sharmin passed her thesis defense for her Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering. Congratulations, Farhana! Farhana is now a PhD student at the University of California, Davis.12/10/2021 - Dr. Fortier participated as an invited speaker in the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Equitable Decarbonization Initiative Workshop: Metrics and Tools.12/7/2021 - Our study titled Carbon footprint of biofuels production from forest biomass using hot water extraction and biochemical conversion in the Northeast United States was published in Energy. The paper's first author is Dr. Obste Therasme (assistant professor at SUNY ESF), and Dr. Fortier and former GERLCA postdoc Dr. Youngwoon Kim are among the coauthors.11/20/2021 - Our study titled Economic feasibility of forest biomass feedstock supply chains: clean and dirty chips for bioenergy applications was published in Biofpr. The first author is Dr. HakSoo Ha, on whose doctoral committee Dr. Fortier served.10/31/2021 - Our study titled Functional unit choice in space conditioning life cycle assessment: Review and recommendations was published in Energy and Buildings. The first author is Maggie DeMarco, PhD student at SUNY ESF on whose committee Dr. Fortier serves.August 2021 - Welcome to our new undergraduate researchers Alexis Smith and Cortez Valle!6/24/2021 - GERLCA PhD student Amir Sharafi gave an oral presentation of his research titled "Influence of road traffic patterns and installation types on the carbon footprint of piezoelectric energy harvesting systems" at the virtual International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) 2021 conference. This marks the first international conference oral presentation given by a GERLCA PhD student!6/3/2021 - Dr. Fortier participated as an invited panelist at the Future of Wine Americas 2021 conference on life cycle sustainability considerations for wines.5/24/2021 - Welcome to our new GERLCA undergraduate researchers Christy Duong, Sierra Lema, Jose Lopez, Stephanie Orozco, Sonia Ronquillo Perez, and Ravinderjit Sidhu!5/15/2021 - Congratulations to GERLCA undergraduate researchers Miguel Gongora Melara and Sara Perez Vite on graduating today with their Bachelor's of Science degrees in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced! Miguel and Sara have been members of the research group since Summer 2019 and have contributed to and led several research projects. They are the last of the inaugural group of GERLCA undergraduate researchers to graduate, after Santiago Cisneros Castillo, Joanna Solano, and William Montz. We are proud of them all!

[Photo credit: 2021 UC Merced School of Engineering Virtual Commencement at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzIYqJI19EY]

4/9/2021 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited lecture at the 2021 Energize Merced event organized by UC Merced's Solar Energy Association, titled "How do you really mitigate climate change with sustainable energy?".3/23/2021 - GERLCA PhD student Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Well-deserved congratulations to Alyssa!3/22/2021 - A news item is now available on Dr. Fortier's NSF CAREER award here!3/3/2021 - Dr. Fortier gave a guest lecture for ENG 130 Writing to Save the Planet at UC Merced, titled "How do you really mitigate climate change with sustainable energy?".3/1/2021 - Our study titled "Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of ethanol produced via fermentation of sugars derived from shrub willow (Salix ssp.) hot water extraction in the Northeast United States" is now published in Biotechnology for Biofuels. The paper's first author, Dr. Obste Therasme, now an assistant professor at SUNY ESF, was a PhD student on whose committee Dr. Fortier served when the study began. Congratulations to Dr. Therasme!2/26/2021 - Dr. Fortier's proposal to NSF "CAREER: Geospatial life cycle climate change impacts of solar and ocean renewable energy systems" was awarded!2/26/2021 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited seminar titled "Climate change impacts of energy from waste sources" for the Environmental Engineering Sciences graduate seminar at the University of Florida.1/8/2021 - Our study titled "Climate change impacts of electricity generated at a waste-to-energy facility" is now available in Environmental Science & Technology. GERLCA PhD student Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling is the first author, and her undergraduate capstone advisor, Dr. Timothy Volk (SUNY ESF), and Dr. Fortier are coauthors. Congratulations to Alyssa on her second publication!End of Year 2020 Update - We are still working remotely, and our entire team is safe and healthy. We currently have three manuscripts under review, two of which are in their final rounds of minor revisions.12/19/2020 - GERLCA undergraduate student researcher Santiago Cisneros Castillo graduated with his Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced. Congratulations, Santiago!12/10/2020 - Our study titled "Greenwashed energy transitions: Are US cities accounting for the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of energy resources in climate action plans?" is now published in Energy and Climate Change. This is GERLCA PhD student Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling's first publication, and as first author as well!8/17/2020 - Our study titled "Willow Biomass Crops Are a Carbon Negative or Low-Carbon Feedstock Depending on Prior Land Use and Transportation Distances to End Users" is now published in Energies. The paper's first author, Sheng Yang, was a SUNY ESF PhD student on whose committee Dr. Fortier served.7/30/2020 - GERLCA PhD student Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling submitted her second manuscript for publication with Dr. Fortier as coauthor, based on her first dissertation chapter. Alyssa started her degree at UC Merced approximately 6 months prior and is already well on her way towards a productive research career!7/2/2020 - Our study titled "Life Cycle Assessment of Forest Biomass Energy Feedstock in the Northeast United States" is now published in GCB Bioenergy. The paper's first author is Dr. Fortier's former MS student at SUNY ESF, Ryan Quinn, and the corresponding author is Dr. Fortier.6/8/2020 - The GERLCA research group started sharing anti-racism resources and readings on anti-Black racism in STEM and academia internally via email. Black Lives Matter.6/2/2020 - The GERLCA research group welcomes Marvin Prieto, our new undergraduate student researcher through the UC Merced UROC program!5/29/2020 - GERLCA PhD student Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling submitted her first manuscript for publication with Dr. Tim Volk (SUNY ESF) and Dr. Fortier as coauthors. Congratulations on this major milestone, Alyssa!5/20/2020 - Dr. Obste Therasme (now Assistant Professor at SUNY ESF) submitted a manuscript for publication based on his dissertation LCA research coauthored by Dr. Fortier.5/16/2020 - GERLCA undergraduate student researcher Joanna Solano graduated with her Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced. Congratulations, Joanna!3/9-3/11/2020 - Dr. Fortier and Dr. Youngwoon Kim traveled to Syracuse NY to coordinate with SUNY ESF collaborators on research supported by their USDA BRDI grant.2/8/2020 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited presentation titled "How do you save the climate using sustainable energy? Figure out where to put it" to the student-organized 2020 Energize Merced event at UC Merced.January 2020 - The GERLCA research group welcomes new Environmental Systems PhD student, Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling, and new postdoctoral researcher, Youngwoon Kim!1/6-10/2020 - Dr. Fortier participated in the Faculty Success Initiative Extramural Funding Fellowship program at UC Merced.12/13/2019 - Dr. Fortier and two undergraduate student researchers, Joanna Solano and Sara Perez Vite, are presenting a poster titled "Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of kite power across multiple deployment sites" at the 2019 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, CA.

12/12/2019 - Julia Burmistrova, Environmental Systems Master's degree student under Dr. Marc Beutel at UC Merced, gave an oral presentation co-authored by Dr. Fortier and Dr. Erin Hestir (UC Merced) at the 2019 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, CA, titled "Satellite Remote Sensing of the Effect of Lithium Mining Salt Evaporation Ponds on the Albedo of the Nevada Desert."11/7/2019 - Dr. Fortier presented a seminar titled "From Bioenergy to Ocean Energy, Location Affects the Life Cycle Climate Change Impacts of Emerging Energy Systems" for the Enviro-Lunch group at UC Merced.11/6/2019 - Dr. Fortier presented a seminar titled "From Bioenergy to Ocean Energy, Location Affects the Life Cycle Climate Change Impacts of Emerging Energy Systems" for the Environmental Systems graduate program at UC Merced.10/31-11/1/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended a workshop titled "Transdisciplinary Research on the Changing Arctic and Its Global Impacts: Enhancing Capacity for Convergence Science" at the University of California, Irvine.10/21-25/2019 - Dr. Fortier traveled to Washington, DC and Syracuse, NY for research advancement purposes.10/21/2019 - Dr. Tim Volk (SUNY ESF) gave an invited talk coauthored by Marie-Odile Fortier at the 2019 Bioenergy Sustainability Conference in Nashville, TN. In addition, HakSoo Ha and Dr. Obste Therasme of SUNY ESF presented two posters coauthored by Dr. Fortier at the conference.Summer & Fall 2019 - The GERLCA research group at UC Merced welcomes Amir Sharafi (PhD student in Environmental Systems), Farhana Sharmin (MS student in Mechanical Engineering), and five undergraduate researchers (Joanna Solano, Sara Perez Vite, Miguel Gongora, Santiago Cisneros Castillo, and William Montz).8/23/2019 - HakSoo Ha and Dr. Tristan Brown (SUNY ESF) submitted a manuscript from HakSoo's dissertation and the USDA BRDI project for publication in a peer-reviewed journal with Ryan Quinn (Fortier research group graduate) and Dr. Fortier as coauthors.8/15/2019 - Ryan Quinn (Fortier research group graduate) and Dr. Fortier submitted a manuscript from Ryan's thesis and the USDA BRDI project for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.6/25/2019 - Dr. Fortier is attending the International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) 2019 in Portland, Oregon, and presenting a poster titled "Influence of geographic factors on the life cycle climate change impacts of sustainable energy systems."5/31/2019 - We are recruiting a postdoctoral researcher in energy LCA to start this summer or fall 2019! Details and application portal can be found here.5/28-30/2019 - Dr. Fortier led an accelerated Life Cycle Assessment workshop for summer undergraduate researchers in the research group and two graduate students.5/23/2019 - Carbon Footprint of Wines from the Finger Lakes Region in New York State has been accepted and is now published as an open-access article in Sustainability. The authors are Amanda Trombly (Fortier Research Group 2018 graduate) and Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier. Congratulations to Amanda for her thesis manuscript being published, marking her first peer-reviewed publication!5/14/2019 - Dr. Fortier participated on a question and answer panel for the Navigating the Academic Job Search workshop at the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) 2019 conference in Tempe, AZ.5/14/2019-5/16/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended the AEESP conference in Tempe, AZ.4/25/2019 - Ryan Quinn, who is co-advised by Dr. Fortier and Dr. Tristan Brown (SUNY ESF), gave a formal presentation of his Master's thesis and passed his defense, making him the fourth Fortier research group graduate! His thesis is titled "Life cycle assessment of forest-residue bioenergy pathways in the Northeast United States." Ryan also recently accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in Renewable Energy at SUNY Morrisville, starting Fall 2019! Congratulations, Ryan!4/24-27/2019 - Dr. Fortier is traveling to SUNY ESF for her co-advised Master's degree student Ryan Quinn's capstone and thesis defense.4/21/2019 - Amanda Trombly (Fortier research group graduate) and Dr. Fortier submitted a manuscript of Amanda's thesis titled "Carbon footprint of wines from the Finger Lakes region in New York State" for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.4/17/2019 - Dr. Fortier hosted an orientation meeting for summer 2019 undergraduate student researchers on energy life cycle assessment projects.4/9/2019 - Aleks Siemenn, undergraduate at the University at Albany and Fortier research group collaborator on oscillating water column systems, was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! He will be starting his PhD this Fall 2019 at MIT. Congratulations, Aleks!4/4/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended a Broader Impacts workshop at UC Merced.3/29/2019 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited research seminar at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for the Sustainable Systems seminar series.3/22/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended the HPC4 Energy Innovation Online Colloquium on Machine Learning.3/18 & 3/20/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended UndocuAlly training at UC Merced.3/15/2019 - Dr. Fortier attended the Central Valley Geosummit at UC Merced.3/14/2019 - Dr. Fortier gave an invited research seminar presentation at Fresno State for the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences seminar series.3/12/2019 - Dr. Fortier became a member of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced.1-3/2019 - Dr. Fortier participated in the full Spring 2019 UC Merced Junior Faculty Productivity workshop series coordinated and hosted by Dr. Tanya Bolash-Goza.1/10/2019 - Aleks Siemenn, senior undergraduate at the University of Albany, gave an oral presentation titled Geospatial Energy Potential and Life Cycle Assessment of Nearshore Oscillating Water Column Systems Along the Eastern Coast of New England, United States and coauthored with Marie-Odile Fortier at the 10th Conference on Weather, Climate, and the New Energy Economy, a section of the 2019 American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ.12/17/2018 - Interested in joining Dr. Fortier's research group? Please see our ad in the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors jobs page and the International Society of Industrial Ecology jobs page.12/14/2018 - Dr. Fortier judged engineering capstone projects during the UC Merced School of Engineering Innovate to Grow design expo.12/12/2018 - Aleks Siemenn, senior undergraduate at the University of Albany, presented an interactive presentation titled Geospatial Energy Potential and Life Cycle Assessment of Nearshore Oscillating Water Column Systems Along the Eastern Coast of New England, United States and coauthored with Marie-Odile Fortier at the NASA Hyperwall at the 2018 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, DC. Aleks was among the Grand Prize winners in the highly competitive AGU Data Visualization and Storytelling Competition. Congrats, Aleks!

[Photo credit: Angel Fernandez Bou]

12/11/2018 - Aleks Siemenn, senior undergraduate at the University of Albany, presented a poster titled Geospatial Energy Potential and Life Cycle Assessment of Nearshore Oscillating Water Column Systems Along the Eastern Coast of New England, United States and coauthored with Marie-Odile Fortier at the 2018 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, DC.12/10-12/11/2018 - Dr. Fortier attended the Energy & Mines World Congress in Toronto, Canada.12/9/2018 - Dr. Fortier attended the Energy & Mines Pre-Summit Workshop for Energy Professionals in Toronto, Canada.12/7/2018 - Ryan Quinn, who is co-advised by Dr. Tristan Brown (SUNY ESF) and Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier, was awarded a Graduate Student Travel Grant by the Graduate Student Association at SUNY ESF to contribute towards his oral presentation of his research at the 2018 AIChE Fall Meeting. Congrats, Ryan!12/6-12/7/2018 - Dr. Fortier met with collaborators on the USDA BRDI grant, coordinated for future collaborative proposals, and met graduate students on whose committees she serves during a visit to SUNY ESF.11/29/2018 - Introduction to evaluating energy justice across the life cycle: a social life cycle assessment approach is now published in the Energy Justice special issue of Applied Energy.11/8/2018 - Introduction to evaluating energy justice across the life cycle: a social life cycle assessment approach was accepted for publication in the Energy Justice special issue of Applied Energy. The authors are: Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier, Dr. Lemir Teron (SUNY ESF), Dr. Tony Reames (University of Michigan), Dynta Munardy (Fortier Research Group graduate), and Breck Sullivan (Fortier Research Group graduate).11/6/2018 - Dr. Fortier became affiliate faculty in the UC Merced Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program. Students interested in joining her research group can apply to either the Mechanical Engineering or the Environmental Systems PhD program, depending on their best fit. Note that applications for Fall 2019 (or Spring 2020 if deferred) are due by January 15, 2019. The Environmental Systems Graduate Program has an earlier deadline of December 15, 2018 for priority of consideration for admission and funding. Please email Dr. Fortier if you are considering applying. More general information can be found here.11/1-11/2/2018 - Dr. Fortier attended a Software Carpentry workshop held at UC Merced.11/1/2018 - Jenny Frank, a SUNY ESF graduate student, gave an oral presentation titled "Replicating Indian Point’s energy generation using renewable energy pathways: a technical and economic stochastic analysis" based on research performed under a Syracuse Center of Excellence Faculty Fellow grant (PI: Tristan Brown, co-PIs: Tim Volk, Robert Malmsheimer, and Marie-Odile Fortier) at the 2018 AIChE Fall Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.10/30/2018 - Dr. Fortier is now on the Environmental Systems Admissions Committee at UC Merced.10/30/2018 - Ryan Quinn, who is co-advised by Dr. Tristan Brown (SUNY ESF) and Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier, gave an oral presentation titled "Life cycle assessment of forest biomass energy pathways in the Northeast US" at the 2018 AIChE Fall Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.10/28/2018 - HakSoo Ha and Obste Therasme, two SUNY ESF graduate students, presented research on forest residues and willow biomass as bioenergy feedstocks, supported by a USDA BRDI grant (PI: Tristan Brown, co-PIs: Tim Volk and Marie-Odile Fortier), at the 2018 AIChE Fall Meeting.10/16/2018 - Dr. Fortier participated in the Fiat Lux Scholar Program Faculty Reception at UC Merced.10/5/2018 - Ryan Quinn, who is co-advised by Dr. Tristan Brown (SUNY ESF) and Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier, was awarded a Graduate Student Travel Grant by the Office of Instruction & Graduate Studies at SUNY ESF which will contribute towards his upcoming oral presentation of his research at the 2018 AIChE Fall Meeting!9/25/2018 - Dr. Fortier gave one oral presentation and three poster presentations on recent research at the SETAC Europe 24th LCA Symposium in Vienna, Austria.July 2018 - Dr. Marie-Odile Fortier joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Merced as tenure-track faculty.7/10/2018 - Amanda Trombly, who is advised by Dr. Fortier, gave a formal presentation of her thesis and passed her defense, making her the third Fortier research group graduate! Her thesis is titled "Life cycle assessment of wines produced in the Finger Lakes region of New York State."6/27/2018 - Three proposals were submitted for consideration for Department of Energy funding with Dr. Fortier as lead PI on University of California, Merced subawards.6/26/2018 - Fortier research group graduate Breck Sullivan won first place in the student poster competition of the 2018 International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) in Buffalo, NY for her poster titled "Geographically specific life cycle assessment of electricity from tidal turbines in the United States."

5/24/2018 - Sheng Yang, Tim Volk, and Marie-Odile Fortier submitted a paper on geographically specific life cycle assessment of willow biomass crops for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.5/12/2018 - Congratulations to Breck Sullivan and Dynta Munardy on graduating with their Master's degrees!

[Photo credit: http://www.esf.edu/communications/galleries/2018/05.14.graduation.htm]

5/2/2018 - Dynta Munardy, who is advised by Dr. Fortier and funded by a Fulbright fellowship, gave a formal presentation of her thesis and passed her thesis defense, making her the second Fortier research group graduate! Her thesis is titled "Life cycle assessment and techno economic analysis of electricity from community-based bamboo gasification in a rural and remote island of Indonesia."4/26/2018 - Dr. Fortier gave an oral presentation on "The Necessity of Geospatial Data in Calculating the Life Cycle Environmental Impacts of Energy Systems" at EnerGIS 2018 in Canonsburg, PA.4/24/2018 - Breck Sullivan presented a poster on her thesis research at the SUNY ESF Spotlight on Student Research, which won third place among all graduate student posters. On the same day, Breck was also awarded as the 2017-2018 Outstanding Master's Degree Scholar in the Graduate Program in Environmental Science at SUNY ESF!4/14/2018 - Dr. Fortier judged engineering research posters at the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) Statewide Student Conference in Bolton Landing, NY.4/9/2018 - Breck Sullivan, who is co-advised by Dr. Fortier and Dr. Malmsheimer in the Graduate Program in Environmental Science at SUNY ESF, gave a formal presentation of her thesis and passed her thesis defense, making her the first Fortier research group graduate!

2/15/2018 - Breck Sullivan, who is co-advised by Dr. Fortier and Dr. Malmsheimer in the Graduate Program in Environmental Science at SUNY ESF, gave an oral presentation titled "Geographically specific life cycle assessment of electricity from tidal turbines in the United States" at the 2018 Oceans Sciences Meeting in Portland, OR.2/12/2018 - Dr. Fortier was PI on a federal-level proposal and co-PI on a state-level proposal submitted to funding agencies for review within the past week.2/4/2018 - Dr. Fortier was unanimously recommended for continued appointment as an Assistant Professor by the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management faculty, Departmental Review Committee, and Interim Chair based on her third year review dossier.1/1/2018 - Dr. Fortier's scholarship now has over 200 citations.12/12/2017 - Dr. Fortier gave an oral presentation titled "Influence of geographic factors on the life cycle climate change impacts of renewable energy systems" at the 2017 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in New Orleans, LA.11/16/2017 - Dr. Fortier gave a guest lecture on biofuels and harnessing energy from waste to students from the Expeditionary Learning Middle School.11/14/2017 - Dr. Fortier gave a guest lecture on social life cycle assessment and energy justice via Skype for Dr. Tony Reames' NRE 501 Energy Justice course at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.11/12/2017 - Dr. Fortier participated on a panel at the Women's Empowerment Brunch at SUNY ESF, an event organized by the Undergraduate Student Association and the Baobab Society.10/22/2017 - "Determination of the life cycle climate change impacts of land use and albedo change in algal biofuel production" is in press at Algal Research and now available online. Dr. Fortier is the lead author.10/9/2017 - Dr. Fortier gave a guest lecture on "Energy Systems and Environmental Impacts" in FOR 132, the departmental orientation seminar for undergraduate students.10/1/2017 - Dr. Fortier and two graduate students in the group (Dynta Munardy and Breck Sullivan) with Dr. Lemir Teron (SUNY ESF) and Dr. Tony Reames (University of Michigan) submitted a paper invited for publication in a special issue.8/28/2017 - We are welcoming two new Master's degree students to the Fortier research group this Fall semester: Julio Rosado and Ryan Quinn.8/25/2017 - Dr. Fortier gave a speech at the SUNY ESF New Student Convocation to welcome students on behalf of the faculty.8/20/2017 - Dr. Fortier participated on a panel for CONNECTIONS, a pre-orientation program for entering freshmen at SUNY ESF.

Research

We model bioenergy systems, emerging renewable energy systems, and related climate change mitigation strategies to determine their climate change impacts by prospective implementation location using life cycle assessment (LCA). We develop geographically specific methodology for energy LCAs.What are we missing from the way that we currently assess life cycle environmental impacts and how can we address these issues?How do the life cycle climate change impacts of novel renewable energy systems compare to our current systems, and how do geographic and temporal variables affect these impacts?How are the life cycle climate change impacts of the materials we need for the energy transition changing?We thank our sources of funding for the opportunity and resources to pursue this research.For our past and current funding: CV
For more details on our approach: About
For our research publications: Google Scholar page

Courses

UNLV (2022-present):
CEE 795: Life Cycle Assessment (Fall 2022)
CEE 250: Sustainability in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Spring 2023)
UC Merced (2018-2022):
ES 268: Life Cycle Assessment (Fall 2020, Fall 2021)
ES 292: Geospatial Life Cycle Assessment (Spring 2022)
ES 292: Antiracism in Environmental Systems (Fall 2021, co-taught with Dr. Tom Harmon)
ES 291: Environmental Systems Seminar (Fall 2018, Spring 2019, co-taught as ESS 190 with Dr. Rebecca Ryals)
ENVE 160 / ES 260: Sustainable Energy (Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022)
SUNY ESF (2015-2018):
SRE 225: Physics of Energy (Fall 2016, Fall 2017)
SRE 325/525: Energy Systems (Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017)
SRE 479/679: Life Cycle Assessment (Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018)
FOR 797: Sustainable Energy Graduate Seminar (Spring 2017-Spring 2018, co-taught)

The GERLCA Team

Dr. Marie-Odile P. Fortier

Academic Appointments:
2022-Present: Assistant Professor, Sustainability in Arid Lands, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
2018-2022: Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Merced
2015-2018: Assistant Professor, Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, SUNY ESF
Education:
PhD Environmental Engineering, University of Kansas (2015)
BS Environmental Engineering, University of Florida (2010)
Highlights:
NSF CAREER Award (2021), "Geospatial life cycle climate change impacts of solar and ocean renewable energy systems"
Pronouns: she/her/hersPreferred name pronunciation in English:
mah-REE oh-DEL(rhymes with "bell") for-tee-AY (rhymes with "hay," sounds like "48" without the "t" at the end)

Current GERLCA Members


Graduate Students


Santiago Cisneros Castillo (UNLV, August 2022-present)Santiago is a graduate student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas under the advisory of Dr. Fortier. He previously earned a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced, during which he also was an undergraduate researcher in GERLCA. Santiago's research is focused on geospatial life cycle assessment of renewable energy systems. In his free time, he is an avid runner and participates in long-distance races.


Alyssa Pfadt-Trilling (UC Merced, January 2020-present)Alyssa is currently pursuing her PhD in Environmental Systems at UC Merced under the supervision of Dr. Fortier. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where she focused on renewable energy. For her undergraduate capstone research she conducted a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of a Waste-To-Energy power plant utilizing system expansion to account for the multifunctionality of the technology. At UC Merced, as part of the Geospatial Energy Resource Life Cycle Assessment (GERLCA) group, she is researching renewable energy-based climate change mitigation strategies using life cycle assessment methodology. Alyssa was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2021!


Amir Sharafi (UC Merced, May 2019-present)Amir Sharafi is a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Systems program at UC Merced under the advisory of Dr. Fortier. He previously earned a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden. He has years of experience designing and manufacturing piezoelectric technology through a research project called “Energy Harvesting from Road Traffic” supervised by his co-advisor, Dr. Jian-Qiao Sun. Using the knowledge gained through this ongoing project, Amir is developing life cycle assessment models of piezoelectric technology, which transform mechanical energy in the form of vibration of vehicles into electricity.


Undergraduate Researchers


Sierra Lema (UC Merced, Summer 2021-present)Sierra Lema is from Hayward, CA, and is currently pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering at UC Merced. After completing her lower division courses at Diablo Valley College, she transferred to UC Merced and is now in her fourth year. Sierra has always been interested in renewable energy systems, and more specifically in the social and political aspects of the field. She is involved in the Geospatial Energy Resources and Life Cycle Assessment (GERLCA) project as an undergraduate researcher.


Fortier Research Group Graduates & Alumni


Undergraduate Researchers


Christy Duong (Summer 2021-Summer 2022)Christy Duong is from Oakland, CA and graduated with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced. She enjoys learning about plants and insects in her free time and participated in the Yosemite Leadership Program.


Jose Carlos Fernando Lopez-Vela (Summer 2021-Summer 2022)Jose Carlos Fernando Lopez-Vela was born in Guatemala but has lived in Los Angeles for the majority of his life. Jose graduated with a degree in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced. As for pastimes, he loves to run with his dog, and run marathons or long-distance races. Jose was an active student member in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).


Stephanie Orozco (Summer 2021-Summer 2022)Stephanie Orozco is from Los Angeles, CA and graduated with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced. She was also a Recycling/Composting Intern at UC Merced, in which she focused on sustainably managing all waste produced by the university in order for all waste to be recycled properly.


Sonia Ronquillo Perez (Summer 2021-Summer 2022)Sonia is from the small beach town of Half Moon Bay, CA, located in the bay area. She was a transfer student who has now graduated with an Environmental Engineering undergraduate degree from UC Merced. Sonia was an active member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SPHE) since 2018. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, petting her cats, and taking care of her autistic brother.


Ravinderjit Sidhu (Summer 2021-Spring 2022)Ravinderjit Sidhu is from Union City, CA, and graduated with an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC Merced. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, going to the batting cages, and hiking.


Alexis Smith (Fall 2021-Summer 2022)Alexis Smith graduated with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering with a minor in community research and service from UC Merced. She always had a strong interest in waste and environmental justice. UC Merced's Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section has also allowed her to grow and inspire others, as the secretary in 2019 and the president in 2020.


Cortez Valle (Fall 2021-Summer 2022)Cortez Valle is an Environmental Engineering major at UC Merced from Oakland, CA. His passion for environmental stewardship and desire to address climate change, has brought him to work for the GERLCA Research Group. For fun, Cortez enjoys working out, skateboarding, playing video games, and hanging out with friends and family.


Sara Perez Vite (2019-2021)
Sara Perez Vite is from San Jose, CA, and graduated with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced. She was active in the Solar Energy Association student organization and in research activities in renewable energy. She was involved with the kite power life cycle assessment project (with GERLCA alum Joanna Solano) and the geospatial algal biofuel life cycle assessment scenario development project.


Miguel Gongora (2019-2021)
Miguel Gongora is from Los Angeles, CA, more specifically Korea town. Miguel graduated with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Applied Mathematics from UC Merced. In his free time, he enjoys watching basketball and soccer. Miguel is involved with the sustainable asteroid mining project (with GERLCA alum Santiago Cisneros Castillo) and the vertical wind turbine life cycle assessment project.


[ Right photo credit: 2020 UC Merced School of Engineering Virtual Commencement ]

Santiago Cisneros Castillo (May 2019 - December 2020)
Santiago Cisneros Castillo is from Santa Ana, CA, and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Engineering at UC Merced in Fall 2020. He had transferred to UC Merced from Santiago Community College, where he earned an Associates of Science degree in Mathematics and Science. Santiago studied Environmental Engineering to allow him to help in reducing or even reversing the way that anthropogenic activity is altering global climate cycling and causing biodiversity loss in unique ecosystems around the world.


Joanna Solano (May 2019 - August 2020)
Joanna Solano is from Madera, CA, and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Engineering at UC Merced in Spring 2020. Her interests are focused on energy systems that are relatively new and have yet to be used at a large scale. She is also interested in learning and using life cycle assessment methods for energy systems. Joanna has been working on a geospatial kite power LCA model with Sara Perez Vite in the GERLCA research group.


Marvin Prieto (Summer 2020 UROC program, UC Merced)

William Montz (May-December 2019)

Tasos Tentoglou (August-December 2020)


Postdoctoral Researchers


Dr. Youngwoon Kim (January-July 2020)Dr. Youngwoon Kim was the first postdoctoral scholar in the GERLCA group. He received his PhD and MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of South Florida and his BS in Environmental Engineering from Myong-Ji University in South Korea. His dissertation focused on sustainable aquaculture production using life cycle assessment. He developed a decision making tool for selection of sustainable energy systems for aquaculture. In Dr. Fortier’s research group, he expanded his knowledge on techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment by integrating the analyses in a USDA-funded project on forest residues. Youngwoon's research interests include life cycle assessment, statistical modeling, sustainable food production, and renewable energy. He is currently an instructor teaching assistant at Grand Canyon University in Arizona.


Master's Degree Students


Farhana Sharmin (2019-2021)-Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering, UC Merced - December 2020
-Thesis: "Geospatial life cycle assessment of electricity from solar updraft towers in the US Southwest"
-Prior education: BS Industrial and Production Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).
-Current position: PhD student at UC Davis


Ryan Quinn
- Master's degree in Sustainable Energy (coadvised with Dr. Tristan Brown), SUNY ESF - May 2019
- Thesis: "Life cycle assessment of forest residue bioenergy pathways in the Northeast United States"
- Prior education: BA English Literature, SUNY Geneseo, and BT Renewable Energy, SUNY Morrisville.
- Current position: Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in Renewable Energy at SUNY Morrisville


Amanda Trombly
- Master's degree in Forest Resources Management in the Sustainable Energy study area, SUNY ESF - July 2018
- Thesis: "Life cycle assessment of wines produced in the Finger Lakes region of New York State"
- Prior education: BS Environmental Science Systems with Pre-Engineering, Le Moyne College
- Current position: Project Coordinator at TRC Companies, an environmental services company


Dynta Trishana Munardy
- Master's degree in Forest Resources Management in the Sustainable Energy study area, SUNY ESF - May 2018
- Thesis: "Life cycle assessment and techno economic analysis of electricity from community based bamboo gasification in a rural and remote island of Indonesia"
- Prior education: BS Environmental Engineering, Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia
- Current position: Technical Officer for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Centre for Energy

[Credit for third photo: http://www.esf.edu/communications/galleries/2018/05.14.graduation.htm]


Breck Sullivan
- Master's degree in Environmental Science in the study area of Environmental Monitoring and Modeling (coadvised with Dr. Robert Malmsheimer), SUNY ESF - May 2018
- Thesis: "Geographically specific life cycle assessment of electricity from tidal turbines in the United States"
- Prior education: BA Environmental Studies with a minor in Mathematics, Salisbury University
- Current position: Scientific, Technical Assessment and Reporting Coordinator/Ecosystem Analyst at the US Geological Survey (USGS)

[Credit for third photo: http://www.esf.edu/communications/galleries/2018/05.14.graduation.htm]

Prospective Students

Please contact me (Marie-Odile Fortier) at marie-odile.fortier@unlv.edu if you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in my Geospatial Energy Resources and Life Cycle Assessment (GERLCA) research group at UNLV, or if you are a UNLV undergraduate student who is interested in participating in research in our group.I aim for GERLCA to be an inclusive and equitable research group with a work environment that embraces neurodiversity and is respectful of members' identities, lived experiences, and perspectives. We welcome and support women, LGBTQ2SIA+, BIPOC, neurodivergent, undocumented, and first-generation members, researchers with disabilities (including non-apparent disabilities), and other identities that have been systematically minoritized/marginalized in science and engineering.

CV

CV last updated in August 2022

Contact Me

Email: marie-odile.fortier@unlv.eduGoogle Scholar page@MarieOdilePF on TwitterMy office is in the Science and Engineering Building (SEB) room 4174 on the UNLV campus.