About Me

Hello and welcome to my website! I am currently a staff researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory where I work with engineers and industrial partners to develop and evaluate vehicle thermal systems, advanced powertrains, and vehicle decarbonization technologies. Previously, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Polytechnique Montreal where I worked with Charles Audet and Bruno Blais on topological optimization of thermo-mechanical systems for innovative industrial manufacturing processes. I did my Ph.D. at McGill University, where I was supervised by  Agus Sasmito. My research is focused on developing multi-scale and multi-physics frameworks to model industrial problems involving fluid mechanics, chemical reactions, heat transfer, and mass transport. I use a combination of asymptotic analysis and numerical methods to solve the governing PDEs. Furthermore, I also frequently incorporate supervised machine learning methods to conduct sensitivity and optimization analyses of the fundamental models that I build.

Some of the mathematical and numerical tools that I have used for my projects are as follows:
  1. Asymptotic analysis and perturbation theory
  2. Similarity analysis and separation of variable techniques for PDEs 
  3. Monte-Carlo simulations and gradient-based optimization methods
  4. Multivariate regression
  5. Artificial and Deep Neural Networks
  6. Computational Fluid Dynamics
To implement the numerical schemes and the mathematical methods enumerated above, I have utilized commercial, academic, and open-source software tools extensively for my research. Prominent examples include MATLAB, Simulink, Python (NumPy, Pandas, SciPy, Scikit-learn, TensorFlow, Keras), GitHub, and ANSYS Fluent. My work benefits from the experimental and field data for validation so I work in close collaboration with other experimentalists and field engineers from the industry.

Outside of work, I enjoy playing music, singing, team sports (Cricket in particular), and exploring the outdoors through hiking, bike touring, mountain biking, and adventure climbing. The cover photo of my website shows the glorious, spire-shaped rock formations of the Bryce Canyon, taken during a climbing/hiking trip to Colorado/Utah (Christmas break 2020).

Research Interests

  • Mathematical modeling of transport phenomena
  • Nucleation and interface kinetics
  • Phase-change heat transfer
  • Stefan problem
  • Energy conversion in micro-combustors
  • Finite Element Method (FEM) for multiphysics modeling
  • Computational Fluid Mechanics


Sep 5, 2021

8 lessons I learnt during my PhD

I finally defended my Ph.D. in front of a computer screen -- far from what I imagined when I embarked on this journey back in 2015 -- on July 29, 2021! As I ruminate back through this incredibly rewarding journey, I have condensed my experiences, learn...

Read more


Saad Akhtar

[email protected]

+1 (514) 661 3246 

Commercial Vehicle Technologies

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

15013 Denver W Pkwy, Golden, CO 80401


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