Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Bryan Willson


Office: Engineering A217, EECL
Phone: 970-227-5164

Dr. Bryan D. Willson

Executive Director, Energy Institute


Mechanical Engineering

Presidential Chair

Dr. Willson is Executive Director of the Energy Institute at Colorado State University, and the Bryan Willson Presidential Chair.

He served as a Program Director at ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy), from 2012-2016 and continues to serve as a consultant / advisor to the agency.  Dr. Willson has worked for over 25 years to develop and deploy large-scale technology solutions related to energy, air quality, and human health.

As an entrepreneur, Dr. Willson is co-founder of: Envirofit International, a global company that has developed solutions for clean mobility (direct injection retrofits for 2-stroke cycle engines) and is now manufacturing and distributing clean cookstoves in the developing world; Solix BioSystems, a developer of large-scale production systems for algae-based fuels and specialty chemicals; and Factor(e) Ventures, a venture development firm supporting early stage ventures working on access to energy in the developing world. In his university role, he has helped to launch or enhance numerous other companies.  His research laboratory, the Engines & Energy Conversion Laboratory, has made important contributions in many areas, including: internal combustion engines, oil & gas production technology, advanced electrical grids, advanced biofuels, technology for the developing world, and advanced building technologies.  Dr. Willson has worked in over 40 countries.


  • Ph.D. 1988, University of Texas at Austin—Mechanical Engineering
  • M.S. 1985, University of Texas at Austin—Mechanical Engineering
  • B.S. 1982, Texas A&M—Mechanical Engineering


Honors and Awards

  • 2012 – Federal Laboratory Consortium Excellence in Technology Transportation, U.S. Government, Federal Laboratory Consortium
  • 2011,2010,2009 – Coolest Labs in the United States, Popular Science
  • 2011 – SAE Fellow, SAE
  • 2011 – Research Rockstars: Excellence in Clean Transportation, Colorado CleanTech Industry Association
  • 2011 – Special Achievement Award, US EPA / Partnership for Clean Indoor Air