Faculty Spotlight

Professor George Bollas

As the Director of the Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering, Professor George Bollas’ research is facilitating novel design, modeling, control and monitoring systems for energy producing or consuming processes with carbon capture constraints. He is also researching modeling abstractions with focus on systems architecture, sensor network design and optimization, and maintenance scheduling optimization using information theoretic principles. These two main pillars of research allow Dr. Bollas to investigate a wide variety of real-world problems and collaborate with researchers and engineers from many engineering disciplines and industry sectors.

In his research on carbon capture, Dr. Bollas is dedicated to sustainable energy production using a mix of renewable energy sources (in the long run), fossil fuels (in the transition period to sustainable renewable energy production) and waste like plastic. He believes this research to be of interest and exciting to every human, regardless of whether they are engineers, scientists or academics. He works to develop chemical and energy process systems that can mitigate climate change and global warming. As developments in the chemical and energy industries are responsible for the unsustainable pollution to begin with, Dr. Bollas thinks that it should be chemical engineers that address these issues. He investigates how humans can keep the same quality of life without eliminating natural resources, and has been able to collaborate with researchers from different fields and corporations to do so.

Since his childhood, Dr. Bollas was passionate about mathematics and computers, which led to his interest in exploring applications of mathematics and computing in chemical engineering. He went on to pursue his Ph.D. at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and his Postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before coming to the University of Connecticut.

Here at UConn, he has been able to incentivize, develop and work with diverse teams of researchers, engineers, and faculty who cross the boundaries of academic disciplines. This allowed him to explore fields that were new to him and create his own interdisciplinary path to research. “In academia, we always have freedom to choose collaborations, projects and goals, and though those promote our personal and collective growth,” says Dr. Bollas. Through these longstanding collaborations, the faculty are able to use their strengths to complement each other. He has led and is appreciative of many opportunities to partner with UConn faculty, outside academic collaborators, and large commercial entities, which led to unprecedent funding and success in research projects and commercial applications.

Dr. Bollas has participated in and led a wide range of projects spanning many fields of study, and currently has $7.2 million in active funding. Along with his own achievements in his field, he takes pride in his students’ accomplishments, the growth they have shown, and the accolades they have received in their careers.

The fields Dr. Bollas studies are quickly changing, which provides unique opportunities for research, like the application of artificial intelligence and digital twin systems to industrial applications that span the manufacturing, energy, chemical, aerospace and naval industries. With direct funding from industry partners, along with academia-industry joint projects sponsored by federal agencies, Dr. Bollas is looking forward to investigating how to produce energy with less of an impact on the environment, consume energy more efficiently, with consideration of the life cycle of products when it comes to recycling and the food water energy nexus. By focusing on real-world applications and partnering with the stakeholders who own/create research challenges and develop/deploy the solutions, he is able to work on research that often becomes commercial product for the benefit of all of us.