hero image
Michel Boufadel - New Jersey Institute of Technology. Newark, NJ, US

Michel Boufadel

Distinguished Professor | New Jersey Institute of Technology


Michel Boufadel focuses on water, water technology and energy, offering insights into oil spills and other environmental disasters.





loading image loading image loading image loading image


Michel Boufadel on Global Warming Michel Boufadel Talks Environmental Threats on COVID-19 Research Lightning Talk: Michel Boufadel, New Jersey Institute of Technology




Michel Boufadel is a distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of NJIT’s Center for Natural Resources (CNR).

CNR specializes in assessment and remediation studies of pollution in natural settings and the evaluation of natural resources for the potential production of energy, particularly renewable energy. It is internationally known for its long-term studies of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and its efforts in dealing with Hurricane Sandy.

Boufadel is an expert on water, energy and water technology who brings insights into oil spills, hurricanes and global warming.

His research examines sustainability, environmental engineering and science and water resources and hydraulics.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Oil Spills

Global Warming


Water Technology

Environmental Disasters

Water Resources and Hydraulics

Environmental Engineering and Science


Education (3)

University of Cincinnati: Ph.D., Environmental Engineering 1998

University of Cincinnati: M.S. 1992

Jesuit University at Beirut: B.S. 1988

Affiliations (1)

  • Marine Pollution Bulletin: Co-Editor-in-Chief

Media Appearances (7)

An Oil Rig off Yemen’s Coast Could Lead To One of the Worst Oil Spills of All Time

Popular Mechanics  online


Michel Boufadel—a civil and environmental engineer who has provided cleanup solutions during major American oil spills such as Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon—tells Popular Mechanics that the best possible solution is to retrieve the oil for alternate, safe storage. Since that scenario may not succeed, the next best option if a leak occurs is to simply spray dispersants on it by airplane.

Media Appearance Image

view more

Stickiness of COVID Particles Reduces Airborne Concentration in Supermarkets

XSEDE  online


"We used allocations from the National Science Foundation's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment for these Comet simulations that helped us investigate the transport of virus-laden particles in an archetypical supermarket 40 meters long by 30 meters wide by 4.5 meters (ceiling height)," explained Boufadel. "We considered three efficiency situations of attachment on surfaces: zero percent, 25% and 100% attachment. For example, the 25% attachment efficiency means that out of 100 particles that touch the surface, only 25% attached to a surface – thus zero percent means no attachment."

view more

Researchers develop mathematical model predicting disease spread patterns

EurekAlert!  online


"The virus could not be isolated. While the superhighways of contagion - air flights - were curtailed, the disease spread at the local level from city to city," said Michel Boufadel, professor of environmental engineering, director of the Center for Natural Resources at NJIT, and the corresponding author of the study. "Using the standard precautions of masking and distancing is not enough if there are a lot of people out there. There will still be superspreader events, resulting from 5-10 people gathering."

view more

High-Performance Computing Aids in Predicting Oil Dispersal During Spills

UC San Diego News Center  online


“We used Ohmsett, short for the Oil and Hazardous Materials Simulated Environmental Test Tank, here in New Jersey to create a life-like oil spill in a controlled environment,” said Boufadel. “Ohmsett is operated by the U.S. Navy and provided us an environmentally safe place to conduct tests for this project.”

view more

NJIT Engineers Build New Model to Track COVID-19

New Jersey Business  online


A team of environmental engineers at Newark’s New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is developing a new way to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus, by combining advanced statistical methods with models that incorporate environmental conditions, such as wind speed, temperature and social distancing.

view more

NJIT conducts the largest-ever simulation of the Deepwater Horizon spill

EurekAlert!  online


Led by Michel Boufadel, director of NJIT's Center for Natural Resources (CNR), the initial phase of the experiment involved releasing several thousand gallons of oil from a one-inch pipe dragged along the bottom of the tank in order to reproduce ocean current conditions. "The facility at Ohmsett allows us to simulate as closely as possible the conditions at sea, and to thus observe how droplets of oil formed and the direction and distance they traveled," Boufadel said.

view more

NJIT director discusses damage caused by Hurricane Sandy

Montana PBS - State of Affairs with Steve Adubato  online


Michel Boufadel, Director of the Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, talks about the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, and the ways it continues to affect New Jersey’s coastline.

view more

Articles (6)

Dispersion modeling of particulate matter from the in-situ burning of spilled oil in the northwest Arctic area of Canada

Journal of Environmental Management

Zheng Wang, Chunjiang An, Kenneth Lee, Edward Owens, Michel Boufadel, Qi Feng

2022 The wind and atmosphere stability play an important role in pollution dispersion. Lower wind and temperature inversion can seriously hinder the diffusion of pollutants. The health risk to technical staff adjacent to the burning areas is a serious concern, and when the community is more than 20 km away from the burning zone, there is few risks. Through simulation, the influences of combustion methods and natural factors on the concentration and diffusion of pollutants are evaluated. The results can help provide an optimized burning strategy for oil spill response in the Arctic area.

view more

A kernel-modulated SIR model for COVID-19 contagious spread from county to continent

Proceedings of he National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

Xiaolong Geng, Gabriel G. Katul, Firas Gerges, Elie Bou-Zeid, Hani Nassif and Michel C. Boufadel

2021 The reproduction number Rb (average number of persons infected by an infected person) decreased because of interventions (masks, social distancing). The model shows that reducing Rb in isolation is not sufficient to stem the spread of the disease and concomitant measures such as curfews and lockdowns may be needed.

view more

Dispersants as marine oil spill treating agents: a review on mesoscale tests and field trials

Environmental Systems Research

Francois Merlin, Zhiwen Zhu, Min Yang, Bing Chen, Kenneth Lee, Michel C Boufadel, Lisa Isaacman, Baiyu Zhang

2021 Mesoscale studies and field trials have been widely conducted to assist better spill response operations. Such research attempts, however, lack a systematic summary. This study tried to fill the knowledge gaps by introducing the mesoscale facilities developed to advance the understanding of dispersant effectiveness on various sea conditions.

view more

Formation of oil-particle aggregates: Impacts of mixing energy and duration

Science of The Total Environment

Wen Ji, Michel Boufadel, Lin Zhao, Brian Robinson, Thomas King, Chunjiang An, Baiyu Helen Zhang, Kenneth Lee

2021 Spilled oil slicks are likely to break into droplets offshore due to wave energy. The fate and transport of such droplets are affected by suspended particles in local marine environment, through forming oil particle aggregates (OPAs). OPA formation is affected by various factors, including the mixing energy and duration. To evaluate these two factors, lab experiments of OPA formation were conducted using kaolinite at two hydrophobicities in baffled flasks.

view more

Multiphase CFD simulation of the nearshore spilled oil behaviors

Environmental Pollution

Mohammadmehdi Raznahan, Chunjiang An, S Samuel Li, Xiaolong Geng, Michel Boufadel

2021 Oil spills are a serious environmental problem. To better support risk assessment and pollution control for oil spills, a good understanding of oil transport in the environment is required. This study focused on the numerical simulation of the nearshore oil behaviors based on computational fluid dynamics.

view more

Hypersaline Pore Water in Gulf of Mexico Beaches Prevented Efficient Biodegradation of Deepwater Horizon Beached Oil

Environmental Science & Technology

Xiaolong Geng, Charbel Abou Khalil, Roger C Prince, Kenneth Lee, Chunjiang An, Michel C Boufadel

2021 The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout released 3.19 million barrels (435 000 tons) of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Driven by currents and wind, an estimated 22 000 tons of spilled oil were deposited onto the northeastern Gulf shorelines, adversely impacting the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf coast regions. In this work we present field work conducted at the Gulf beaches in three U.S. States during 2010–2011: Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

view more