Faculty & Staff

DR. WALTER MÉRIDA

DR. WALTER MÉRIDA

The Master of Engineering Leadership degree in Clean Energy Engineering combines a rigorous engineering curriculum with a versatile business curriculum. This is important because we are at the threshold of a global transition to sustainable energy systems and business practices.

Today, more than 140 countries have renewable energy targets, and approximately 95% of these countries have supporting energy policies. The related investment is significant (USD270 billion in 2014). In absolute terms, the top three countries investing in renewable energy are China, the United States and Japan. However, when the investments are normalized as shares of gross domestic product, the top three countries are Uruguay, Mauritius, and Costa Rica. There were approximately 7.7 million renewable energy jobs in 2014, and the top 10 employers were China, Brazil, US, India, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, France, Bangladesh and Colombia.

I am currently the director of the Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), which is dedicated to developing viable solutions for sustainable energy services. My primary area of research is in hydrogen and fuel cells within the broad area of transportation – a sector that currently accounts for close to 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia, Canada. The CERC also hosts world-leading efforts in several other areas including renewable energy, natural gas, smart grid, clean water, and smart cities.

Students will find that the research and learning environment at UBC is very strong: beyond the scientific and academic excellence that defines the university, there’s a deep philosophical commitment among my colleagues to make a difference. Like them, I hope what I leave behind is better than what I found, in whatever small way.

I believe that Canada can be a leader in clean energy, and that our university is creating global leaders in this realm. The “L” in the acronym of the Master of Engineering Leadership program’s name is not accidental: the MEL program will train not just fantastic engineers, but really good leaders, policymakers and businesspeople.

Experience

Dr. Walter Mérida was born in Guatemala and completed his higher education in Italy and Canada (physics, chemistry and mechanical engineering).His graduate research included work on natural gas liquefaction and fuel cell technology. From 1996-1999, Dr. Mérida worked at the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems, co-ordinating research collaborations between Ballard Power Systems and British Gas Investments Canada with the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University. He also served on the board of General Hydrogen Corporation prior to private financing (1999-2000). Dr. Mérida joined the Faculty of Applied Science at UBC in 2002: he is a professor in Mechanical Engineering and an associate faculty member in Chemical and Biological Engineering. He was a visiting professor at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in 2010 and was co-appointed at the National Research Council from 2002 to 2011 (Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation). He is currently the director of UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre.