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Klaus Lackner

Klaus Lackner

Director, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment
Arizona State University
PO Box 873005
Tempe, AZ 85287-3005


  • Senior Global Futures Scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Director, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
  • Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
  • Senior Scientist, Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, The Earth Institute, Columbia University


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.


  • PhD (summa cum laude), Physics, Heidelberg University, 1978
  • Diplom (MS), Physics, Heidelberg University, 1976
  • Vordiplom (BS), Physics, Heidelberg University, 1975


Journal Articles


Davis, S. J., N. S. Lewis, M. Shaner, S. Aggarwal, D. Arent, I. L. Azevedo, S. M. Benson, T. Bradley, J. Brouwer, Y. Chiang, C. T. Clack, A. Cohen, S. Doig, J. Edmonds, P. Fennell, C. B. Field, B. Hannegan, B. Hodge, M. I. Hoffert, E. Ingersoll, P. Jaramillo, K. S. Lackner, K. J. Mach, M. Mastrandrea, J. Ogden, P. Peterson, D. L. Sanchez, D. Sperling, J. Stagner, J. Trancik, C. Yang and K. Caldeira. 2018. Net-zero emissions energy systems. Science 360(6396):eaas9793. DOI: 10.1126/science.aas9793 . (link )


Wang, T., K. S. Lackner and A. B. Wright. 2013. Moisture-swing sorption for carbon dioxide capture from ambient air: A thermodynamic analysis. : Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 15:504-514. DOI: 10.1039/c2cp43124f. (link )


Lackner, K. S., S. Brennan, J. M. Matter, A. A. Park, A. B. Wright and B. van der Zwaan. 2012. The urgency of the development of CO2 capture from ambient air. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(33):13156-13162. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1108765109. (link )


Wang, T., K. S. Lackner and A. Wright. 2011. Moisture swing sorbent for carbon dioxide capture from ambient air. Environemental Science & Technology 45(15):6670-6675. DOI: 10.1021/es201180v. (link )



Rittmann, B. E., K. S. Lackner, J. D. Flory, R. Stirling, E. Eustance, Y. Lai, T. Shesh, A. B. Wright, J. Kmon, Z. L'Heureux and S. Badvipour. 2019. Atmospheric CO2 Capture and Membrane Delivery. Department of Energy. Technical Report DOE-ASU-0007093. (link )



Schlosser, P., D. White, K. Merrigan, K. Lackner, G. Dirks, R. Aggarwal, N. Berman, C. Boone, H. Eakin, M. Laubichler, B. Sarda and S. van der Leeuw. 2019. Recognizing the urgency of our climate crisis: ASU Global Futures Laboratory response to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land [Editorial]. Retrieved from link