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Clarens Lab

Our group is focused on research and teaching that can accelerate efforts to decarbonize our infrastructure in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change. We are an interdisciplinary and inclusive group of scholar focused on a variety of problems within this larger context including: 1) assessing the physicochemical potential of different technologies for managing carbon; 2) quantifying the full life cycle implications of these approaches; and 3) understanding the scalability and value of these emerging technologies. Increasingly, we are exploring the ways in which the large-scale deployment of decarbonization technologies would interface with other technological, economic, and social systems. Our work is at the frontier of environmental engineering and has important connections with geoscience and systems engineering as well as economics and policy.

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Our research is increasingly motivated by an overarching question: why are efforts to respond to climate change in our local institutions so out of sync with global scale climate models? The United Nations paint a dire picture about the coming decades and suggest that economy-wide changes are needed to avoid some of the most severe consequences. The technological transitions at the heart of this process have been the focus of our research for the past decade.

Our teaching seeks to help students build expertise with the fundamental tools of environmental engineering and apply those to emerging problems of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Fundamentals related to water chemistry, applied geoscience, environmental surface chemistry, and physicochemical processes are all critical tools for helping to design things like new sources of sustainable biofuels, low carbon cements, and robust and resilience power grids. A growing amount of our work in the classroom relies on living labs where we work with partners at our University and in our community to help motivate real world problems for the students to engage with.