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Energy, Environment, and Sustainable Development

Political instability in oil-producing regions, together with geological uncertainties about supply—compounded by increasing demand for fuels by the world’s emerging economies—gives new urgency to the development of sustainable energy sources. In response, faculty members are investigating the use of plant materials (or biomass), hydrogen and other types of fuel cells, improved efficiency of internal combustion engines, pollution abatement, and other subjects that could help clean up the earth. Cornell is making fundamental contributions to the discovery, development, and implementation of alternative energy sources and sustainability.

Research Topics

Atmospheric Science

Atmospheric Science

Atmospheric phenomena (Kelley)

Biogeochemistry/Climate Interactions

Biogeochemistry/Climate Interactions

Includes geochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, ecohydrology, soil biogeochemistry, coastal systems, nitrogen/climate/forest interactions, and land surface interactions.

Climate & Paleoclimate

Climate & Paleoclimate

Environmental consequences of climate change and miocene paleoclimate history.

Combustion and Pollution

Combustion and Pollution

Air quality in urban cities (Zhang)

Energy

Energy

NIMS for water desalination and filtration

Energy, Mineral, & Water Resources

Energy, Mineral, & Water Resources

Topics include geothermal, fossil fuels, wind power, biofuels, ore deposits, internal and external crystallography, crystal chemistry, optical mineralogy, sustainable development, waste water, water supply, and reactive nitrogen.

Fusion and plasma physics

Fusion and plasma physics

Pulsed-power-driven high energy density plasmas (Hammer)

Geochemistry, Petrology, &  Volcanology

Geochemistry, Petrology, &  Volcanology

Includes origin and evolution of continental crust, mantle evolution, Cornell Andes project, biogeochemistry, ore deposits and volcano geophysics.

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics

Includes atmospheric dynamics, mantle dynamics, turbulence, crustal fluid motions and plasma physics.

Geophysics, Active Tectonics, and Structural Geology

Geophysics, Active Tectonics, and Structural Geology

Includes deformation observed from space, upper crustal structure of late Cenozoic Mountain belts, active source & earthquake seismology, geomechanics and the Cornell Andes project.

Space and Planetary Sciences

Space and Planetary Sciences

Includes extrasolar planets, planetary atmopheres & giant planets, planetary geology & geophysics, small objects in the solar system, radar studies, ring dynamics, and space physics.

Surface Processes, Sedimentary Basins, & Paleobiology

Surface Processes, Sedimentary Basins, & Paleobiology

Includes the Cornell Andes project, environmental biophysics, biogeochemistry program, earth energy systems, paleontology, paleobiology, conservation paleobiology and paleoclimate history.

Sustainable energy systems

Sustainable energy systems

Growth in world population and continual improvements in living standards in developing countries will increase demands for energy in the next 40 years, posing tremendous challenges for providing affordable energy.