Where? CMRR Auditorium (Center for Magnetic Recording Research)
When? Monday, February 9, 2009 3PM, reception to follow. The professional community is cordially invited.
Without a revolution in energy infrastructures, the world faces a stark choice between economic growth and a healthy environment. The world must stop the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere while improving energy services to a growing world population that strives for a high standard of living. New energy technologies must reduce CO2 emissions by more than an order of magnitude. Among the different options that range from nuclear energy to solar energy, only carbon capture and storage can maintain access to the vast resource base of fossil carbon. Fossil fuels by themselves are plentiful enough to satisfy energy demand for centuries, but the associated CO2 emissions would be intolerable. Technologies for CO2 capture at concentrated emission sources like power plants, steel plants or cement plants already exist. However, optimizing a new generation of efficient and clean power plants that could capture their CO2 and deliver it for safe and permanent carbon dioxide storage will promote dramatically different designs. Even after addressing the large concentrated sources of CO2, the remaining half of present-day CO2 emissions from distributed and mobile sources is too large to be ignored. Either one replaces carbonaceous energy carriers with carbon free energy carriers like hydrogen or electricity, or one must compensate for their CO2 emissions by capturing an equivalent amount of carbon from the environment. Biomass growth offers one such option; direct capture of carbon dioxide from the air provides a more efficient solution. Carbon capture and storage technologies enable a closure of the anthropogenic carbon cycle and thus provide one possible avenue to reach a world that is not limited by energy constraints.
Klaus S. Lackner joined the faculty of Columbia University in 2001, where he is the Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering and a member of the Earth Institute. He is the director of the Gerry Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy and the Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Klaus Lackner received his Ph.D. in 1978 in theoretical physics from the University of Heidelberg, Germany and held postdoctoral positions at the California Institute of Technology and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1983. At Los Alamos National Laboratory he held several positions, among them, the Acting Associate Laboratory Director for Strategic and Supporting Research, which represents about a third of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Klaus Lackner’s scientific career started in the phenomenology of weakly interacting particles. Later searching for quarks, he and George Zweig developed the chemistry of atoms with fractional nuclear charge and a more recent participation in matter searches for particles with a non-integer charge in experiments conducted at Stanford by Martin Perl and his group. After joining Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lackner became involved in hydrodynamic work and fusion related research. His interest in self-replicating machine systems has been recognized by Discover Magazine as one of seven ideas that could change the world. He has been instrumental in forming the Zero Emission Coal Alliance, an industry led group that defined the zero emission concept.