Joule Bergerson

Associate Professor

Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Canada Research Chair in Energy Technology Assessment

Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Research and teaching


Dr. Bergerson’s primary research interests are systems-level analysis for policy and decision making of energy system investment and management. The focus of her work is developing tools and frameworks for the assessment of prospective technology options and their policy implications from a life cycle perspective. To date, her work has addressed fossil fuel derived electricity, oil sands development, carbon capture and storage and renewable energy systems.

Dr. Bergerson is the lead researcher for the Life Cycle Assessment of Oil Sands Technologies project, a collaborative project between the University of Calgary and the University of Toronto, with industry and government participants. The project’s aim is to use modern hybrid life cycle assessment techniques to assess the economy-wide impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions, of current and proposed oil sands projects. These techniques will help prioritize research and development activities, by identifying technologies – or optimal combinations of technologies – that would provide particularly large life cycle benefits. An open source tool, PRELIM, was released in April, 2015, which has also been adopted as part of the Oil Climate Index (OCI). 

The OCI, developed by the Carnegie Endowment’s Energy and Climate Program, Stanford University and the University of Calgary, is a first of its kind which compares crude oil resources around the world. The report was released in May, 2015 and the online tool was released in June, 2015. These releases were covered by hundreds of media outlets with more than 50 stories in Canada alone including print, digital, radio and TV coverage.


Dr. Bergerson received her Ph.D. in a joint program of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. The title of her dissertation was “Future Electricity Generation: An Economic and Environmental Life Cycle Perspective on Technology Options and Policy Implications”. She has a Master of Engineering Degree in Chemical Engineering with a collaborative program in Environmental Engineering from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in chemistry and environmental science from the University of Western Ontario.

Prior to this, Dr. Bergerson was a project manager and senior technical systems analyst at the Royal Bank of Canada between 1998 and 2001. Dr. Bergerson has been an assistant professor at the University of Calgary since September 2008, and was a team leader at the Secretariat for the Canadian ecoEnergy Carbon Capture and Storage Task Force, Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environmental and Economy in 2007-2008. She has served as an expert panel member on the Canadian Council of Academies study titled “Potential for New and Emerging Technologies to Reduce the Environmental Impacts of Oil Sands Development” and an Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada’s project titled “Development of a Framework for Evaluation of Environmental Performance from all Electricity Sources”.


Selected Publications

1. Oguz Akbilgic, Da Zhu, Ian Gates and Joule Bergerson. Prediction of Steam to Oil Ratio of Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage from Reservoir Characteristics. Energy. IF: 4.159. Accepted: September, 2015.

2. Raksha Lakhani, Ganesh Doluweera, and Joule Bergerson. Internalizing land use impacts for life cycle cost analysis of energy systems: A case of California’s photovoltaic implementation. Applied Energy. Nov. 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.11.038. IF: 5.261.

3. Ganesh Doluweera, Sarah Jordaan, Michal Moore, David Keith and Joule Bergerson. Evaluating the Role of Cogeneration for Carbon Management in Alberta. Energy Policy. 2011. Vol. 39. pp. 7963-7974. IF: 2.696.

4. Jessica Abella and Joule Bergerson. Model to investigate energy and greenhouse gas emissions implications of refining petroleum: impacts of crude quality and refinery configuration. Environmental Science and Technology. October, 2012. 46. pp. 13037-13047. IF: 5.481.

5. Joule Bergerson, Oyeshola Kofoworola, Alex Charpentier, Sylvia Sleep, and Heather MacLean. Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Current Oil Sands Technologies: Surface Mining and In Situ Applications. Environmental Science and Technology. June, 2012. 46. pp. 7865-7874. IF: 5.481.

6. Joule Bergerson and David Keith. The truth about dirty oil: Is CCS the answer? Environmental Science and Technology. Environmental Science and Technology. 2010. Vol. 44. pp. 6010–6015. IF: 5.481.