Prof. Nickolas J. Themelis

sustainable waste management;
recovery of energy and materials;
industrial ecology

Prof. Nickolas J. Themelis
Senior Research Scientist

Columbia University, Earth Engineering Center
10027 New York City, NY
United States of America

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English, Greek

Thematic field of expertise:
No Littering, Energy Recovery, Material Recovery, Pollution Control, Final Sinks, Sustainability, Climate, Construction Waste, Resource management, Hazardous Waste, Industrial Waste, Sand, Glass, Inert, Metals, Paper Fiber, Plastics, Mixed Waste, Methods, Analyses, Data

Geographical field of expertise:
United States of America

Thematic field of interest:
Energy Recovery, Material Recovery, Pollution Control, Mixed Waste

Detailed description of working activity

Senior Associate, Earth Engineering Center, Columbia University (; Stanley-Thompson Professor Emeritus, Earth and Environmental Engineering; President Global WtERT Council, Inc.

Current activity

Prof. Emeritus, School of Engineering,, Columbia University,
Member oft GWC Board of Directors
Nurturing activities on advancing sustainable waste management in 20 countries, including India and China.

Former activities

Dr. Themelis obtained his B. Eng. (British Association Medal for Great Distinction) and Ph.D. degrees from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) in chemical engineering. In the first ten years of his career, he was Director of the Engineering Division of the Noranda Research Center in Pointe Claire where he invented and helped develop the Noranda Process for the continuous smelting and converting of copper concentrates and recycled copper and the recovery of sulphur dioxide as sulphuric acid. At present there are several Noranda process plants operating. The largest plant, at Noranda, Quebec, co-processes annually a million tons of copper concentrates from all over the world plus 50,000 tons of electronic waste. In 1972-1980, Prof. Themelis was Vice President of Technology of Kennecott Corp., the major non-ferrous company at that time. He was appointed as Professor by Columbia University (New York City, U.S.A.) in 1980 and was elected to Stanley-Thompson Chair of Chemical Metallurgy in 1988. He was chairman of the Henry Krumb School of Mines and founded Columbia’s Earth Engineering Center in 1996 ( In 1995, he introduced at Columbia University the teaching of industrial ecology to engineers and in 1997 led the transformation of the historic School of Mines to the new engineering discipline of Earth and Environmental Engineering and was first chairman of the new Department. ( Dr. Themelis has been consultant to industry and government in the areas of process design and management of technical resources. He is member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, member of the New York Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society, member of the Metallurgical Society of Canada, Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada, member of the Materials and Energy Division of ASME, and member of International Solid Wastes Association.
Prof. Themelis is founder and Chairman of the Global Waste to Energy Research and Technology Council (Global WtERT Council,;, an international consortium of universities, companies and governmental organizations concerned with the recovery of materials and energy from industrial and municipal wastes by means of recycling, anaerobic digestion, composting, WTE, and landfill gas capture and utilization. GWC has sister organizations in U,S, (CCNY and Columbia). China, India, Germany, France, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, and other countries. The mission of GWC is the advancement of methods for material and energy recovery from urban, industrial, and agricultural wastes. Prof. Themelis is the recipient of several professional awards (listed below), author of over 200 technical papers and five books, and holder of several patents on metal extraction and refining.


Graduate of McGill University in chemical and metallurgical engineering


Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering,
Fellow of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society,
Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada .