State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Alissa Park – Lenfest Junior Professor in Applied Climate Science

Alissa Park
Photo: Bruce Gilbert

When rising star Ah-Hyung Alissa Park was invited to come to Columbia University to give a seminar on her work in sustainable energy and the mineral sequestration of carbon dioxide, she knew she was being interviewed, but she did not know about the offer she would soon receive to be the Lenfest Junior Professor in Applied Climate Science.

She debated about taking a job outside of a chemical engineering department and about moving to the big city, but the last couple of years have shown that Park, the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy where she is associate director, and New York are a good match. “Being in New York City, particularly at Columbia University, makes my vision much bigger. It helps me see how my work impacts people and how we can influence advancements in science and technology as well as environmental decision making.”

Park holds one of two endowed professorships funded by Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest and the Lenfest Foundation, which supports several programs and projects at the Earth Institute and is one of our most valued partners.  What attracted the Lenfest Foundation to the Earth Institute was “how it studied the connected challenges of energy, climate change, poverty alleviation, and other world issues,” says Gerry Lenfest, a pioneer in the cable television industry, and a University trustee, alumnus of the School of Law and University benefactor.

The overarching theme of Professor Park’s research is the sustainable conversion of energy sources and the development of carbon capture and storage technologies.  Park’s approach to waste-to-energy research will advance this area by providing not only sustainable energy but also environmental benefits through carbon sequestration. “We live in a society which is built on and uses large quantities of carbon,” Professor Park said in a recent interview with The Record. “Any carboneous sources can be converted into valuable fuels or chemicals. It just takes energy to do so.” The specific on-going research efforts of Park’s group include:

CO2 Caputre Using Nanoparticle Ionic Materials (NIMS)
Carbon Mineral Sequestration
Accelerated Carbonation of Industrial Wastes
Sustainable Energy Conversion of Biomass & Municipal Solid Wastes
Electrostatic Phenomenon in Multiphase Flow Systems & Electrostatic Tomography

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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