About our group
Anthropogenic carbon cycling is resulting in significant changes to the climate of the planet. Efforts to manage carbon emissions are hindered by the enormous quantity that we emit into the atmosphere. Our group is focused on developing strategies for avoiding emissions, reusing or permanently storing carbon. Our lab is taking a broad approach toward understanding how we influence the water-energy-carbon nexus. Our group has two complementary areas of strength: the first in the high-pressure interfacial processes that will impact carbon reuse, transport, and storage in geologic repositories; and the second in the systems-level environmental implications of capturing, moving, and storing large amounts of carbon. Our experimental work is grounded in traditional aquatic chemistry and geochemistry while our modeling work is based in industrial ecology. By conducting this research in tandem, we seek to achieve carbon emission reductions on a large scale.
We are working to develop a number of different engineered geomaterials that can be used for environmental remediation applications. One broad class of inquiry is focused on mineral carbonation of a specific class of silicates. The ways in which these materials dissolve and then recombine can lead to intersting products in a number of applications like advanced cements. A second broad class of inquiry is focused on engineered clay minerals that can be used to mitigate leakage of light chain hydrocarbons. There is an urgent need to develop technologies that can be used to clean up legacy emissions from fossil fuel activities and our ideas could help create new approaches to solving these problems.
We apply a range of tools from industrial ecology (LCA) and energy systems modeling to explore a range of questions about how we might decarbonize our energy sources. These analyses have been applied to a number of emerging technologies such as algae-to-energy processes, aviation biofuels, and hydraulic fracturing of shale. We also use these tools to assess the resilience of infrastructure systems in the face of rapid environmental change.
We have been exploring ways in which the deployment of certain technologies including biofuels and carbon capture and storage might be critical pieces in a strategy to stabilize the climate of the planet. Some of these technologies are established while other are in their infancy. In both cases, developing better understanding of their potential will be critical to develop rational climate policies.