News & Events

Distinguished Lecturer Klaus Lackner to speak on carbon air capture technology

The University of Maine at Presque Isle is pleased to present Dr. Klaus Lackner – the Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University, the Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering, and the Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute at Columbia University – as its first Distinguished Lecturer of the Spring 2010 semester.

Dr. Lackner will deliver his talk Innovations in Sustainable Energy: Capturing Carbon Dioxide Directly from the Air on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. in the UMPI Campus Center. A snow date has been set for Friday, Feb. 12. During his talk, Dr. Lackner will give an overview of the environmental challenges facing our world, the importance of carbon dioxide capture and sequestration, and the budding technology behind the capture of carbon dioxide from ambient air using ionic exchange resins in the form of artificial trees.

Dr. Lackner received his Ph.D. in 1978 in Theoretical Physics from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. After postdoctoral positions at Caltech and Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, he joined Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1983, where he held various positions including Acting Associate Director of Strategic and Supporting Research until 2001.

Presently, he is developing innovative approaches to energy issues of the future focusing on environmentally acceptable technologies for the use of fossil fuels, which include the use of tracers in geological carbon storage, power plant modeling, carbon capture membranes for use at high temperatures, gravitational carbon storage, advanced fossil fuel technologies, and scaling and automation, among others.

Dr. Lackner has been instrumental in forming the Zero Emission Coal Alliance which is an industry-led effort to develop coal power with zero emissions to the atmosphere. He pioneered the concept of carbon dioxide air capture as a means for abating emissions of fossil carbon to the atmosphere. He has co-founded Global Research Technologies in Tucson, Arizona, and leads a team in designing and producing prototype machine that mimics trees in taking CO2 out of the atmosphere. After sequestering the carbon dioxide, the machine releases it and turns the CO2 into a liquid that can be stored and managed.

Carbon footprint reduction and renewable energy have become increasingly important issues for the University. In 2007, UMPI President Don Zillman joined the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, an effort to move campuses across the United States toward carbon neutrality. Last May, the University commissioned its 600 kW wind turbine – the first mid-size wind turbine to be installed on a University campus in the State of Maine.

The University’s Distinguished Lecture Series was established in 1999. Each year, the UDLS Committee sponsors five to six speakers who come from Maine and beyond, representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints. The speakers typically spend two days at the University meeting with classes and presenting a community lecture.

Lackner’s lecture at UMPI is free and the public is invited to be a part of this special evening. For more information, contact the University’s Media Relations Office at 768-9452.