Klaus Lackner Elected AAAS Fellow

Nov 25 2013 | By Melanie A. Farmer | Photo: Eileen Barroso

A pioneer in carbon management and sustainability, Columbia Engineering Professor Klaus Lackner has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This honor is bestowed annually upon AAAS members by their peers for their outstanding efforts to advance science or its applications.

“It’s a great honor,” says Lackner, Maurice Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel Professor of Geophysics at the Engineering School. “I am very happy to be recognized by this prestigious group of leading scientists and engineers.”

The AAAS is honoring Lackner for his groundbreaking innovations in the fields of sustainable energy and carbon management. At Columbia, he has been focusing on carbon capture and storage, mineral sequestration, zero emission coal plants, carbon electrochemistry, and the study of large-scale energy infrastructures. In addition to his activities at the School, Lackner helped found Global Research Technologies, LLC which is now Kilimanjaro Energy Inc. in San Francisco, CA, a company that aims to develop a commercially viable device, a so-called "artificial tree," to capture carbon dioxide from the air just as real trees do. His revolutionary carbon capture systems work by trapping carbon dioxide that can later be freed and converted into a synthetic fuel or could be disposed of through geologic and mineral sequestration. A true leader in the field, Lackner’s unwavering motivation stems from the great importance of developing environmental solutions and their far-reaching impact.

“It is exciting working in a field that touches everybody's life,” he says. “The current energy system is unsustainable and it will require many people's effort to fix this.”

Lackner, who also directs Columbia’s Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, is one of just four professors from across the University to be elected a new AAAS fellow. The AAAS will present new fellows with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin (the colors representative of science and engineering) at the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting, scheduled for February 15 in Chicago.

Klaus Lackner