Upcoming Events:

When: Monday, October 09, 2017, 3:00-4:00pm
Where: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Mudd Building, Room 826
Speaker: Prof. Jihan Kim Associate Professor at KAIST

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.  

Title: Thousands and Thousands of Metal-Organic Frameworks: Too Many or Not Enough?


In the past decade, there has been an explosion in the number of newly synthesized metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), with the total number surpassing 20,000 structures.  However, most of these MOFs are neglected after the development of another MOF material that surpasses their performance in a given application field.  As such, it is interesting to contemplate upon whether or not the field as a whole need such a large number of materials.  In this talk I will show that from a computational researcher’s point of view, the current number is actually insufficient.  I will talk about ways in which we manipulate MOFs in silico, such that they possess completely different properties than what was intended for the original structures, thus opening up new ways to recycle these old MOFs using computational simulations.


Prof. Jihan Kim is an Associate Professor at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.  He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) from UC Berkeley in 2001 and M.S. (2004) and Ph.D. degrees (2009) in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with his dissertation work focused on conducting quantum dot simulations for quantum computing applications.  He spent 4 years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories for Prof. Berend Smit, where he worked on writing software code and running large-scale simulations to identify optimal materials for CO2 capture and methane storage applications. His main research interest focuses on multi-scale (quantum and classical) modeling nanoporous materials and developing new computational methods that can lead the experimental research for materials discovery.


Past Events:

The Outlook for Lower-Cost Carbon Capture and Storage for Climate Change Mitigation

When: Friday, April 28, 2017, 10:10-11:25am
Where: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Mudd Building, Room 833
Speaker: Dr. Ed Rubin, Alumni Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science, Carnegie Mellon University

Ed Rubin Slides – The Outlook for Lower-Cost Carbon Capture and Storage for Climate Change Mitigation

Studies show that capture and storage (CCS) is a potentially critical technology for achieving climate change mitigation goals at the lowest cost to society. However, the relatively high cost of current CCS systems is a barrier to its entry into key sectors, especially the electric power industry. Thus, a major goal of energy technology R&D programs worldwide is to lower the cost of CCS. Toward that end, a variety of advanced processes and technologies for CO2 capture have been proposed or are under development. This talk will briefly review the current landscape of current and proposed CCS options for power plant (and other) applications, along with cost estimates for such systems. A review of the methods used to estimate the cost of advanced technologies concludes that such estimates are often biased and potentially misleading. An approach for improving cost projection methods for advanced technologies is proposed.

Recent progress in machine learning and implications for the process and energy systems engineering fields

When: Friday,  March 31, 2017 10:10-11:25am
Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Mudd Building, Room 833
Jay H. Lee, Professor of Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Director of Aramco-KAIST CO2 Management Center

Machine learning has recently come into limelight and its popularity is spurred by advances in deep learning, reinforcement learning, GPU-based computing, and commercial interest in big data and predictive analytics. New fundamental advances like the ability to train neural networks with a large number of layers for hierarchical feature learning are expected to bring significant new opportunities.  On the other hand, some renowned experts of the field have expressed skepticism, which is justifiable given the previous disappointment with neural networks and other AI techniques. In this presentation, I will critically examine the main motivation behind and advances in deep learning.  I will also discuss the recent advances in another branch of machine learning called ‘reinforcement learning’ and its relationship with dynamic programming and self-optimizing simulation.  Implications of these advances for the fields of process and energy systems engineering are discussed and the problem of integrated planning and operation of a hybrid renewable energy network is used to illustrate the potential of the approach. The seminar will also include a brief introduction of KAIST and activities at Aramco-KAIST CO2 Management Center.

Opportunities for Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage in Managing the Energy Transition

When: Tuesday,  July 19, 2016 11:00am-12:00
Where: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Mudd Building, Room 825
Speaker: Dr. Joseph B. Powell Shell Chief Scientist – Chemical Engineering

Energy demand will double by 2100, the target date for reduction of mankind’s collective net carbon footprint to near zero values in order to mitigate the long-term risk of climate change. Addressing these joint goals will put enormous pressure on energy systems technologies and migrations. Carbon capture and sequestration have been proposed as viable near-term options for continued use of fossil resources in meeting demand for energy and chemicals. Carbon utilization can potentially provide a long-term future as a carrier for renewable energy, and a source of building blocks for chemicals. This seminar will examine the Energy Transition and the move to a more sustainable energy system, and the important role CCUS can play.

Closing the Carbon Cycle: Fuels from Air

When: September 28-30 2016
Where: Arizona State University – 400 East Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281


Topics include:

  • Legal, social and political framework for air capture technologies
  • Methods to remove CO2 from the atmosphere
  • Electro-chemical and thermo-chemical methods to convert CO2 into fuels
  • Alternative fuel conversion pathways for CO2 from the atmosphere
  • Integration of carbon neutral fuels into the broader sustainability platform

Speakers include:

  • Wil Burns, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment
  • Dan Esposito, Columbia University
  • Christopher Graves, Denmark Technical University
  • Anne Hauc, Denmark Technical University
  • Tom Jensen, SystemIQ
  • Kendra Kuhl, Opus-12, Cyclotron Road
  • Klaus Lackner, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, Arizona State University
  • Ellen Stechel, Arizona State University
  • TBD, Carbon Engineering

Nanoporous materials for electrochemical systems

When: Monday, November 23rd, 2015, 3pm-4pm
Where: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Mudd Building, Room 826
Speaker: Dr. Feng Jiao, Department of Chemical and BiomolecularEngineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Please join us on November 23rd from 11am-1pm in 826 Mudd for the continuation of our seminar series.  Dr. Feng Jiao will be presenting on Nanoporous materials for electrochemical systems.

This talk focuses on development of nanoporoussilver (np-Ag) catalyst, which is able to reduce CO2electrochemically to CO in a highly efficient and selective way. Not only the porous structure creates an extremely large surface area for catalytic reaction, but also the curved internal surface generates a large number of highly active step sites for CO2conversion, resulting in an exceptional activity that is over three orders of magnitude higher than that of the polycrystalline counterpart at a moderate overpotentialof < 500 mV. More importantly, such a remarkable activity for CO2electroreductionhas been achieved with a CO Faradaic efficiency of 92%.
Next, development of non-precious metal based hydrogen evolution catalyst will be presented. A robust and efficient non-precious metal catalyst for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is one of the key components for CO2-free hydrogen production. A new report presents hierarchical nanoporouscopper-titanium (np-CuTi) bimetallic electrocatalyst, which is able to produce hydrogen from water under a mild overpotentialat a rate more than two times higher than that of the current state-of-the-art carbon-supported Pt catalyst. Although both Cu and Tiare known to be poor HER catalysts, the combination of these two elements creates unique Cu-Cu-Tihollow sites, which have a hydrogen binding energy very similar to that of Pt, resulting in an exceptional HER activity. Additionally, the hierarchical porosity of the np-CuTicatalyst also contributed to its high HER activity. Moreover, the np-CuTicatalyst is self-supported, eliminating the overpotentialassociated with the catalyst/support interface.

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.