Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park

Lenfest Chair in Applied Climate Science, Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering & Department of Chemical Engineering, Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, Columbia University

“Towards Sustainable Energy and Materials: Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS)”


The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has naturally fluctuated on the timescales of ice ages. Concerns, however, stem from the recent dramatic increase in CO2 concentration, which coincides with global industrial development. This rise is mainly due to the high use of fossil fuels during power generation and chemical production. In order to meet the ever-increasing global energy demands while stabilizing the atmospheric CO2 level, the development of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies is one of the critical needs. Nanoparticle Organic Hybrid Materials (NOHMs) are a new class of organic-inorganic hybrids that consist of a hard nanoparticle core functionalized with a molecular organic corona that possesses a high degree of chemical and physical tunability. NOHMs are liquid-like, non-volatile and stable over a very wide temperature range, which make them interesting materials for various energy and environmental applications. While their CO2 capture efficiency and selectivity are great, like other anhydrous CO2 capture solvents, NOHMs suffer from high viscosity. Thus, an innovative encapsulation system has been developed to create large gas-liquid interfaces for CO2 capture using these viscous solvents and encapsulated solvents show greatly improved CO2 capture rates. Furthermore, it has recently been discovered that NOHMs have interesting electrolyte properties which may allow the COcapture to be pulled by the in-situ CO2 conversion reactions. The conversion of CO2, which is considered as waste at this time, to value-added materials using renewable energy would allow us to improve the overall sustainability of our materials cycle.


A.-H. Alissa Park is the Lenfest Chair in Applied Climate Science of Earth and Environmental Engineering & Chemical Engineering at Columbia University. She is also the Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute. Her research focuses on sustainable energy conversion pathways with emphasis on integrated carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). The current efforts include the fundamental studies of chemical and physical interactions of natural and engineered materials with CO2 such as the development of novel nano-scale hybrid materials for integrated CO2 capture and conversion. Founded on these new materials and reaction schemes, Park group is also working on innovative fuel synthesis pathways using unconventional energy sources such as shale gas, biomass and municipal solid wastes, while minimizing environmental impacts. Park received a number of professional awards and honors including the NSF CAREER Award (2009), James Lee Young Investigator Award (2010), American Chemical Society WCC Rising Star Award (2017), Janette and Armen Avanessians Diversity Award at Columbia University (2017), International Partnership Award for Young Scientists of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2018), American Chemical Society Energy and Fuels Division - Emerging Researcher Award (2018), PSRI Lectureship Award in Fluidization at American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2018), and U.S. C3E Research Award (2018). Park was also the Chair of the CO2 Utilization Area for the Mission Innovation Workshop on Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage held in September 2017 and the National Petroleum Council CCUS Report in 2019.