Semida Silveira

Semida Silveira

Professor of Practice
Systems Engineering
629 Frank H.T. Rhodes Hall


Semida Silveira is a Professor of Practice in the Systems Engineering Program. Her goal is to contribute to science-based societal transformation, a global low-carbon circular economy, and sustainable development through transdisciplinary research, education, and actions with impact. Before coming to Cornell University, she was a Full Professor in energy systems planning at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, where she established and led the Energy and Climate Division of the Energy Technology Department for twelve years. During this time, she also acted as KTH director of international cooperation with Brazil and other Latin American countries and coordinated cooperation with the UNFCCC and UNCTAD.

She is a faculty fellow of Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. Her work on sustainability grew from a conceptual basis towards an agenda for action, connecting technology, planning, and policy to steer societal transformation. This has taken her to transdisciplinary research and cooperation with multiple stakeholders. She collaborates with partners outside academia and brings real-world cases to the classroom. She has developed and managed projects in collaboration with academics, multi-lateral organizations, government, and the private sector in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Previously, she worked as a sustainability and climate expert at the Swedish Energy Agency, and program manager for energy and climate at the Stockholm Environment Institute. She did research at MIT, IIASA (International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis), University of Tübingen, and the University of Stockholm. Professor Silveira has acted in various company boards of directors, and advisory committees including the Swedish Royal Academy of Science, Swedish Research Council, Finnish Academy of Sciences, among others.

She recently received an honorary medal from the Brazilian Embassy in Stockholm for her extensive work in promoting the cooperation between Sweden and Brazil. She won the Jabuti literature Prize 2001 in Brazil for the book Electricity for Sustainable Development (in Portuguese). She is also the author of various journal articles and books including an anthology of the Swedish energy system, "Building sustainable energy systems – Swedish experiences", and the book "Bioenergy – realizing the potential".

Professor Silveira has a Ph.D. in regional planning from KTH and an engineer-architect degree from UFMG Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. 

Research Interests

Semida Silveira wants to contribute to science-based societal transformation through transdisciplinary research, education, and actions with impact. She sees energy system transformation as an entry-point for achieving multiple goals including climate change mitigation, improved air quality and health, industrial innovation, circular economy, and sustainable development at large. In her view, energy transformation cannot be addressed in the narrow boundaries of the energy sector alone. Synergies across sectors and geographical boundaries are needed to accommodate the interests of multiple stakeholders and manage resources more efficiently. Therefore, a systems approach is essential. Her most recent research topics include urban sustainability, energy and climate policy, sustainable mobility, low-carbon circular economy, energy efficiency in industries, energy access, and bioeconomy.

Systems Engineering

Cornell Energy Systems Institute

Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability

Teaching Interests

Energy and climate policy, sustainable development, circular economy.

Service Interests

Promote international cooperation and stakeholder cooperation to accelerate the sustainable energy transition.

Contribute to developing the education of young leaders to ensure a sustainable future.

Selected Publications

  • Golzar, F. and Silveira, S. "Impact of wastewater heat recovery in buildings on the performance of centralized energy recovery – a case study of Stockholm". Applied Energy. Vol 297, 1171412021, 2021.
  • Solis, M. and Silveira, S. "Technologies for chemical recycling of household plastics - a technical review and TRL assessment", in Waste Management, vol 105, pp 128-138, Mar 2020.
  • Harahap, F., Silveira, S., Khatiwada, D. "Cost competitiveness of palm oil biodiesel production in Indonesia". Energy 170, pp 62-72, 2019.
  • Xylia, M., Leduc, S., Patrizio, P., Kraxner, F. and Silveira, S. "Locating charging infrastructure for electric buses in Stockholm". In Transportation Research part C – Emerging Technologies, vol 78, pp. 183-200, 2017.
  • Khatiwada, D., Leduc, S., Silveira, S. and McCallum. "Optimizing ethanol and bioelectricity production in sugarcane biorefineries in Brazil". Renewable Energy, vol 85, pp. 371-386. 2016.


  • Ph.D. (Regional Planning), KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, 1994
  • Professional degree (Engineer Architect), UFMG Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, 1985

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