Upcoming Events:

Past Events:

Integrated Analysis of Battery and Fuel Cell Vehicles in Californian Community

When: Monday, July 20, 2015, 12:00-1:00pm
Where: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Mudd Building, Room 825
Speaker: Markus Felgenhauer, Global Climate Change & Energy Project, Stanford University and Technical University of Munich

The Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy and the Earth and Environmental Engineering department presented the Integrated Analysis of Battery and Fuel Cell Vehicles in a Californian Community. The energy transition to decentralized renewable energy sources is increasing the demand for energy storage systems. Dual-purpose hydrogen storage systems, configured for both vehicle fueling and stationary energy storage, may provide cost or emissions reduction benefits. This work presents the overall costs and CO2 emissions for a community in California for different electric vehicle penetration rates in the years 2025 and 2035. Based on hourly data and the linear optimization model URBS, the differences between battery-powered and fuel cell-powered vehicles are highlighted.

Speaker Markus F. Felgenhauer is a Ph.D. student in energy systems analysis at the BMW Group / Technical University of Munich (Prof. Thomas Hamacher). His research at the Global Climate & Energy Project, Stanford University (Prof. Sally Benson) analyzes MW-scale electrolysis in communities for both hydrogen car refueling and stationary energy storage for decentralized renewable energy sources. He holds a M.Sc. in physics from the Technical University of Munich.

A Cubic Mile of Oil: Let’s Get Real About Energy

When: Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 11:00am-12:00pm
Where: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Mudd Building, Room 833
Speaker: Dr. Ripudaman Malhotra, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA.

The Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy and the Earth and Environmental Engineering department present the A Cubic Mile of Oil: Let’s Get Real About Energy seminar. This seminar will include discussion from Dr. Ripudaman Malhotra, co-author of A Cubic Mile of Oil. The book is a call for an informed public debate on energy, arguably the biggest challenge we face. It is a citizen’s guide to energy, aiming to make all the technical discussion accessible and relatable. It uses a simple visual measure, a cubic mile of oil (CMO), as the metric for comparing all global energy flows. As we look for alternate greener ways of producing energy it is vital we get the scale of our solutions commensurate with the magnitude of the challenge. The debate about energy supply has often been portrayed as a tension between the moral imperative of protecting the environment or preserving the economic interns of the energy industry. This will explore the challenge that we face in balancing the tension between protecting the environment and the moral imperative of providing adequate affordable energy to people around the earth.

Speaker Dr. Ripudaman Malhotra, Associate Director of the Energy and Environment Center at SRI International, received his PhD. In Chemistry from the University of Southern California in 1979. He is co-author of A Cubic Mile of Oil: The Looming Energy Crisis and Options for Averting It.” Dr. Malhotra was named an SRI Fellow in 2005, and in 2015 he was awarded the Henry H. Storch in Fuel Science from ACS Division of ENFL.

Sustainable Ironmaking Technology in South Korea Seminar

When: Thursday, May 7, 2015, 4-5pm
Where: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Mudd Building, Room 825
Speaker: Dr. Sang Ho Yi, Director, Ironmaking & Finex® Research Group, Technical Lab., POSCO, South Korea.

The Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy and the Earth and Environmental Engineering department presented the seminar on Sustainable Ironmaking Technology in South Korea.
Steelmakers in Korea have been facing great challenges toward innovation and development to overcome the constraints in the blast furnace (BF) process. FINEX® has been developed to provide the ironmaking sector with the capability to lower environmental pollution, especially CO2 emissions, and the flexibility in terms of operation and the choice of materials. FINEX® is a new technology combining a gas-based direct reduction in a series of fluidized-bed reactors and a reduction smelting in a melter gasifier. Commenced in April 2007, the first 1.5 MTPA commercial plant has demonstrated its competitiveness as an alternative ironmaking route. Another 2.0 MTPA advanced FINEX® plant was recently added at Pohang Works. The second commercial plant has been in satisfactory operation since its blowing-in in January 2014. This seminar will present the innovation and insights into the FINEX® technology.

Speaker Dr. Sang Ho Ki entered Technical Research Lab., Posco in 1985.
He served as Group Leader of the Department of Finex® R&D Project from 2007-2010, and has been the Director of Ironmaking & FINEX® Research Group, Technical Research Lab., POSCO since 2010. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at POSTECH in 1998.

Engineering Strategies for a Sustainable Food Supply Workshop

This 1.5 day workshop, held on March 16th & 17th at Princeton University, was funded by the United Engineering Foundation (UEF). It united experts from several engineering disciplines together with experts in psychology, sociology, public policy, and economics, to explore the technological approaches to improving the sustainability of the food supply chain. Professor Alissa Park of the Lenfest Center served as a steering committee member for the workshop and helped to organize the event. More information.

“Enzymes for energy applications”

Guest Lecture by Joshuah Stolaroff
Environmental Scientist
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Friday, April 26, 2013
12:15pm, Project Room, 924 Mudd Building

Most of the desired chemical reactions for green energy applications are already carried out by nature. In many cases, natural enzymes carry out reactions under ambient conditions that are inefficient, energy-intensive, or impossible with current industrial technologies. However, the use of enzyme chemistry in industrial processes is an active frontier in energy research. Several techniques are being pursued to harness enzyme chemistry, including isolating naturally-grown enzymes to use as biocatalysts, using directed evolution to create enzymes or whole organisms suited to a particular process, and using synthetic chemistry to create small molecules that mimic natural enzymes. In this event, guest lecturer Joshuah Stolaroff presented two case studies from research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The first was a project to develop a small-molecule mimic of the enzynme Carbonic Anhydrase for carbon dioxide capture from power plants. The second was a project to use the enzyme Methane Monooxygenase to convert fugitive methane gas to a liquid hydrocarbon.

Carbon Pricing

Some countries do it seriously and are prosperous—What about yours?
April 29, 2013, 6:00PM
1501 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St), Columbia University
A discussion with James Hansen, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and Claude Henry, Professor at Sciences Po Paris and the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

More about the Speakers:
James Hansen is an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. He served as the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center, from 1981 to 2013. Hansen is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to avoid dangerous climate change. In recent years, Hansen has become an activist for action to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Claude Henry is a quantum mechanics physicist turned economist. He has taught public economics and environment economics at Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and at Lausanne University and he has written articles and books on these subjects. Clause Henry is Adjunct Professor at the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and teaches a course called “Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Goals”.

Klaus Lackner is the Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University and the director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute. Lackner pioneered the concept of carbon dioxide air capture as a means for climate change mitigation, i.e. abating emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Co-sponsored by the Alliance Program, the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, the Earth Institute, and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Workshop on Electrolysis and CO2-recycling, April 9-11, 2013

This workshop is number 5 in a series of workshops alternating between Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy and Department of Energy Conversion and Storage (previously part of Risø National Laboratory), Technical University of Denmark, Roskilde, Denmark.

Substantial reductions and ultimately complete phase out of the use of fossil fuels in the transport sector and elsewhere requires large capital investments if the existing infrastructure is to be exchanged for batteries, hydrogen or similar technologies. From this perspective, production of carbon neutral, green hydrocarbon fuels from CO2 recycled from point sources such as thermal cycle power plants or captured directly from the atmosphere is extremely exciting and promising.

This workshop took a closer look at the technologies potentially involved in the field of CO2 capture, electrolysis and hydrocarbon fuel production, with the aim of creating an overview of the state of the art as well as perspectives, challenges and limitations to the technology.

This was a full three days event with invited speakers that are experts within their fields. Also including poster sessions, lab-tours and time for socializing, the workshop focused on networking and knowledge sharing in the Carbon Capture and Utilization for fuel production community between researchers, industry and students.

This year’s workshop was held at the Risø Campus in Roskilde, Denmark. For more information, please visit the event website:

Workshop on Electrolysis and CO2-recycling

NSF RCN-CCUS: Kick-off Meeting

Thursday, February 14th, 2013
9:00 AM, Columbia University, Seminar Room 826 in Mudd Hall

Professor Alissa Park kicked off the new National Science Foundation – Research Coordination Network (RCN) themed around Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS). This 4 year award is designed to seed transformative research collaborations in CCUS that cross the boundaries of the natural sciences, engineering, and the social and economic sciences. The RCN is planning to host annual symposia, bi-annual workshops, bi-monthly web-based seminars, and webinars that will encourage collaboration among academic researchers, industrial practitioners, and international partners as well as K-12 teachers and young professionals. If you or your center is interested in getting involved, please contact Kristin Taylor (

2012 Energy Storage Symposium, May 2-3, 2012

Transforming the global energy system and the technologies that support it will require massive research and advancement in energy storage. This year’s symposium explored the range of storage technologies that could underpin a large non-fossil energy infrastructure. Speakers included Klaus Lackner, Lenfest Director and Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics, Mogens Mogensen, Research Professor, DTU Department of Energy Conversion and Storage, Bob van der Zwaan, Senior Scientist, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, Jay Apt, Director, Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, and Jay Whitacre, Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University.

Find more information about the Symposium here.

Seminar: “One Planet, Too Many People?” Monday, March 5th, 2012

At this special event co-hosted by LCSE, Dr. Tim Fox, Head of Energy and  Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, addressed the  unprecedented human population growth and the corresponding  engineering challenge. Dr. Fox outlined current thinking on the projections  of change in global population in the 21st century, described recent  engineering efforts in this critical area, and considered what engineers need to  do to ensure the future provision of food, water, shelter and energy in support  of continued human progress. Read the full report by IMechE here Dr. Fox’s presentation is online here. 

Dr. Fox and panelists discuss engineering needs for future growth –Photo credit, EI/Sarah Curran

Following Dr. Fox’s presentation, senior faculty and researchers from the  Earth Institute participated in a dialogue in response to the themes raised during the lecture, moderated by Klaus Lackner, Lenfest Center Director, Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics, and Department Chair of Earth and Environmental Engineering. Participants included: Joel E. Cohen, Professor, Laboratory Populations at Rockefeller University and Columbia University; Glenn Denning, Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs, Director of the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development; Elliott Sclar, Professor of Urban Planning & Professor of International Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development; and Alex de Sherbinin, Senior Staff Associate for Research at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network.

Read an article about this event in the School of International and Public Affairs’ magazine Communique.

This special seminar was co-sponsored by the Lenfest Center, the Columbia Climate Center, the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering and made possible by the Office of Academic and Research Programs.