Upcoming Events:

The 5th edition of the Accelerated Carbonation for Environmental and Material Engineering (ACEME) is organized by the Research Coordination Network on Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (RCN-CCUS) and hosted by Columbia University from June 21-24, 2015. Click this link to view the ACEME2015 webpage for more information.

Past Events:

Research Coordination Network on Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage annual meeting

The first RCN-CCUS annual meeting was held at Columbia University April 14th – 16th. In addition to talks from the RCN community, the event also featured a one-day workshop on “Air Capture and its Applications in Closing the Carbon Cycle,” sponsored by LSCE and Technical University of Denmark’s Department of Energy Conversion and Storage. To see videos, presentations and more information from the conference, click this link. To see the conference posters and their abstracts, click here.

“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.