Dr. Klaus Lackner is the director of Center for Negative Carbon Emissions and professor at the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Arizona State University.
Lackner’s research interests include closing the carbon cycle by capturing carbon dioxide from the air, carbon sequestration, carbon foot-printing, 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’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. After joining Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lackner became involved in hydrodynamic work and fusion-related research.
In recent years, he has published on the behavior of high explosives, novel approaches to inertial confinement fusion, and numerical algorithms. His interest in self-replicating machine systems has been recognized by Discover Magazine as one of seven ideas that could change the world. Trained as a theoretical physicist, he has made a number of contributions to the field of carbon capture and storage since 1995, including early work on the sequestration of carbon dioxide in silicate minerals and zero-emission power plant design. In 1999, he was the first person to suggest the artificial capture of carbon dioxide from air in the context of carbon management. His recent work at Columbia University as Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy advanced innovative approaches to energy issues of the future and the pursuit of environmentally acceptable technologies for the use of fossil fuels.