A new Construction Engineering Professor: Annie Levasseur joins ÉTS

For more than ten years, she has devoted her efforts to developing diagnostic tools based on life cycle analysis (LCA).

December 20, 2017
For more than ten years, Annie Levasseur has devoted her efforts to developing diagnostic tools based on life cycle analysis (LCA), which allows for a global assessment of the environmental impact of engineering activities in general, and their impact on climate change in particular.

Professor Levasseur graduated from École polytechnique de Montréal in1999 with a degree in Chemical Engineering, and immediately jumped into the job market rather than pursuing Post-Graduate studies. In 2007, after eight years of practical experience as a Process Engineer for Petro Canada, she decided to return to university in order to increase her knowledge of the environment.

Backed by her outstanding academic performance during her Bachelor studies and having received the Profil de Vinci Award for Excellence from Polytechnique Montréal (the first of many prestigious awards), Annie Levasseur entered into her Doctoral studies without first earning a Master’s degree.

Life cycle analysis: A passionate pursuit

She chose her dissertation topic carefully, and it became her field of expertise for many years. Environmental life cycle analysis won the day and became her great passion. She joined a research group at Polytechnique that specialized in the field, and selected “Le développement d’une méthode d’analyse du cycle de vie dynamique pour l’évaluation des impacts sur le réchauffement climatique“ (The development of a dynamic life cycle analysis method for assessing the impact on global warming) as the topic and title of her dissertation. According to Professor Levasseur: “LCA allows for the entire life cycle to be quantified in terms of environmental impact. It is an exciting and fundamental tool that allows for upstream and downstream thinking.”

Aside from the integration of temporal aspects into LCA, the main areas of interest for her research include the following:
  • Modelling the impacts on climate change: climatic indicators and models, carbon footprint and national inventories, estimating greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Modelling systems related to biomass: bioenergy, biomaterials and bioproducts, forests, carbon debt, modelling biogenic carbon, temporary carbon storage, emissions caused by land-use change.

High-level use of LCA to guide the development of policies

Annie Levasseur is also interested in the use of techno-economic models in the energy sector and multi-objective optimization models for operational design and planning. In addition, she works with a professor from HEC in connection with the use of LCA within the context of policy development based on prospective techno-economic models. Professor Levasseur is of the opinion that LCA allows for a more systemic and optimized evaluation of scenarios.

A collaborative field of research

At the international level, the use of LCA to assess environmental impact is a highly collaborative field of research. After all, it deals with the future of the planet. She points out that “these exchanges allow for consensus to be reached among experts in terms of adhering to the same standards, such as in the case of carbon footprints, for example”.

The concept of environmental design: A pet topic in her teaching

Annie Levasseur is extremely interested in the concept of “environmental design”, and would love to develop a course on this subject. She states: “things must be planned out right from the start, so that there is a lesser impact throughout the life cycle. Prevention must prevail over treatment, and this is the aspect that I am most interested in”.

Her students

She currently acts as Co-Director for Doctoral and Bachelor-level students (introductory research projects), and she has acted as Co-Director and provided guidance for a number of Master’s students in the past, in addition to having been a lecturer for many courses at Polytechnique Montréal.

Annie Levasseur chose ÉTS because it is an environment where industry and research work hand in hand. Her reasoning: “ÉTS is not anchored in long-standing traditions, but rather, is in the process of creating its own traditions, without attempting to reproduce what exists elsewhere. I find that openness very appealing.”

By nature, Professor Levasseur is in the habit of seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, which definitely helps her to maintain a certain amount of optimism when it comes to the question of climate change. She understands that this is a difficult subject to discuss, because the effects are not easy to see, even though we feel the impact, unlike smog or blue algae, for example. However, Annie Levasseur is joining ÉTS with the firm intention of instilling in her students an interest in and awareness of the importance of the research that is being conducted in this field. So let this be a warning to global warming skeptics: Annie Levasseur is ready!

Pour information
ÉTS Communication Service
Emmanuelle Berthou
514 396-8427

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