Klaus S. Lackner

Director, Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy
The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Klaus S. Lackner is the Ewing Worzel Professor of Geophysics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Lackner’s research interests include closing the carbon cycle by capturing carbon dioxide from the air, carbon sequestration, carbon footprinting, geo-engineering, innovative energy and infrastructure systems and their scaling properties, the role of automation, robotics and mass-manufacturing in downscaling infrastructure systems, and energy and environmental policy.

Lackner earned his Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics in 1978 from Heidelberg University.  After postdoctoral positions at Caltech and the Stanford Linear Accelerator, he joined the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1983.  He rose to a senior management position as the National Laboratory’s Acting Director for Strategic and Supporting Research in 1999.  In 2001 he joined Columbia University.

Lackner co-founded the Zero Emission Coal Alliance, an industry group formed around an advanced coal fired power plant design he co-invented. Lackner was a lead author on the IPCC Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage and a Member of an NAS committee on the Future of Coal.  He holds numerous patents on air capture and energy technology.