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Core senior researchers

The Novo Nordisk Foundation CO2 Research Center consists of core senior researchers and affiliated researchers. Their research groups are supported by grants from CORC.

The core senior researchers of CORC are:

Lars Angenent, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

Center for Applied Geosciences, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen

Lars Angenent works in the field of environmental biotechnology with an interest in recovering carbon from wastes, including CO2, CO in syngas, wastewater, and biomass. Depending on the substrate, he works with open cultures (reactor microbiomes), defined mixed cultures, co-cultures, or pure cultures of microbes. This, to generate specific products, such as the energy carriers – methane and ethanol; medium-chain carboxylic acids – n-caproic acid and n-caprylic acid; electric current; n-butanol; protein and food, among other products.

Pretreatment of the biomass may be necessary to increase the conversion rates, and therefore Lars Angenent is also interested in physical/chemical (e.g., dilute acid method), thermochemical (e.g., pyrolysis and gasification), and biological pretreatment steps. In regards to bioprocessing, Lars Angenent studies power-to-gas, power-to-protein, power-to-x, anaerobic fermentation, bioelectrochemical systems, and syngas fermentation. Other areas of interest are microbial electrochemical technologies that are based on microbial electrochemistry.

Kim Daasbjerg, Aarhus University

Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University

Kim Daasbjerg’s expertise includes development of surface modification tools as applied to the study of polymer brushes, responsive polymers, coatings, smart hybrid materials and composites involving in one or the other way carbon-based substrates. In addition, research focus has been on fundamental aspects of graphene and its functionalization to exploit the extraordinary properties of this carbon allotrope in materials science. More recently, the combined expertise in electrochemistry, modification of surfaces, polymer brushes, and carbon materials is employed to meet a scientifically difficult challenge of great societal importance in terms of converting the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, to useful building blocks for the chemical industry or energy sector.

Jiwoong Lee, University of Copenhagen

Jiwoong Lee's research career include asymmetric catalysis, organic synthesis, and heterogeneous catalysis using chiral organocatalysts, organometallic complexes, nanoscale materials such as nanoparticles and metal-organic frameworks to develop methodologies of catalysis, CO2 capture and functionalization, desalination, and water purification.

Alfred M. Spormann, CORC

Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

Executive Director Novo Nordisk Foundation CO2 Research Center (CORC), Aarhus University

Alfred M. Spormann is a microbial physiologist and biochemist. He has been a Professor at Stanford University for the past 28 years in the Departments of Chemical Engineering, and of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as of Biology, and of Geological and Environmental Sciences. He received his PhD at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, and conducted postdoctoral work in the Departments of Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and at Stanford University. (H-index 61, 116 publications, and >13,000 citations)

Primary research interest is on metabolism, in particular on CO2 metabolism, of anaerobic microorganisms. The research group has been studying extensively acetogenic bacteria, methanogens, and chain-elongating bacteria including for direct and indirect electron uptake via electrosynthetic systems. Ongoing research includes metabolic fluxes of electrons and network wiring, electron transfer in redox enzymes, cellular resource allocation as a function of growth, the metabolic basis of parallel metabolism as well as slow growth and stationary phase physiology.  

Other research is investigating the molecular interactions of redox-active enzymes at the enzyme-electrode interface, as well as the metabolism of anaerobic H2S-forming microorganisms in the human gut and their role in colon rectal cancer.

All research approaches use quantitative biochemical, genetic, proteomic, and transcriptomic approaches. 

Peter Westh , DTU - Technical University of Denmark

Department of Bioengineering, DTU - Technical University of Denmark

Peter Westh is a professor of enzymology at DTU with a demonstrated history of working at the interface of industrial and academic research. Strong education professional skilled in skilled in physical chemistry, protein chemistry, catalysis, enzyme design- and engineering and life sciences.

Matteo Cargnello/Arun Majumdar, Stanford University

Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

Matteo Cargnello is Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Terman Faculty Fellow. His group research interests are in the preparation and use of uniform and tailored materials for heterogeneous catalysis and photocatalysis and the technological exploitation of nanoparticles and nanocrystals. Reactions of interest are related to sustainable energy generation and use, control of emissions of greenhouse gases, and better utilization of abundant building blocks (CO2, methane, biomass). Dr. Cargnello received his Ph.D. in Nanotechnology in 2012 at the University of Trieste (Italy) and he was then a post-doctoral scholar in the Chemistry Department at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) before joining the Faculty at Stanford.

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University

Dr. Arun Majumdar is the Jay Precourt Provostial Chair Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering (by courtesy) and Senior Fellow and former Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy. He is also a faculty in Department of Photon Science at SLAC.

His current research focuses on redox reactions and systems that are fundamental to a sustainable energy future, multidimensional nanoscale imaging and microscopy, and an effort to leverage modern AI techniques to develop and deliver energy and climate solutions. Dr. Majumdar is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

André Faaij, TNO Utrecht University

TNO and Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University

André Faaij is appointed as Director of Science of TNO Energy Transition, the largest energy research organisation of the Netherlands. He focuses on strategy, large research initiatives and collaboration with academia. He combines this position with a part time chairs at the Copernicus Institute at Utrecht University (UU) and as Distinguished Professor Energy System Analysis at the University of Groningen (RUG).

Prior to this position he was Chief Scientist of the New Energy Coalition (including the Energy Academy Europe) and Distinguished Professor at RUG. Until 2014, he was appointed as Professor and scientific director of the Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development of Utrecht University.

Current research covers in particular energy system integration questions, related scenario analysis and model development, transition processes towards low carbon energy systems and related innovation and policy questions.

He worked and works as advisor for governments, the EC, IEA, the UN system, GEF, OECD, WEF, WEC, the energy sector & industry and NGO’s. He contributed to various IPCC reports, the World and Global Energy Assessment and IEA’s World Energy Outlook. Furthermore, he was appointed Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, awarded the Linneborn Prize for outstanding contributions to the development of energy from biomass and as one of many scientists of the IPCC jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

He is editorial board member for several key energy journals is a much asked reviewer for a range of journals, scientific and government bodies, including the European Research Council (ERC) and National Science Foundation. He published over 600 titles in scientific journals, reports, books and proceedings, qualifies as ‘highly cited researcher’ (top 1% of research field by criteria of Clarivate Web of Science) and is frequently lecturing across the globe.

Lars Ottosen, Aarhus University

Department of Biological and Chemical  Engineering, Aarhus University

Lars Ottosen is a professor and head of department at Biological and Chemical Engineering at Aarhus University. He graduated from Aarhus University in 1996 with a MSc in biology, and in 2000 with an Exam Oecon in business economy. He also obtained his PhD in microbial ecology in 2000. He started his career in research and development in Unisense A/S, a spinout company, where he worked until 2004. After this, he worked as a researcher and embryologist at Aarhus University Hospital. He completed a postdoc, and in 2007 he was offered an assistant professorship at the Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University (2007-2010).

Following R&D work in the industry (from 2010-2013) he has been associate professor and head of Section until 2020 where he became full professor and Head of Department. Lars research evolves around microbial ecology in engineered systems, and includes understanding microbial communities and their identity, function, physiology, thermodynamics and kinetics. Technologies include anaerobic digestion, biological airfiltration, waste water treatment, biomethanation and biological production of acetate and other compounds from CO2.

Troels Skrydstrup, Aarhus University

Department of Chemistry and Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, Aarhus University

Troels Skrydstrup is currently center leader of the Danish National Research Center, Carbon Dioxide Activation Center (CADIAC). He has been Head of Department at the Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University in the period 2001–2004, as well as the director of the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) in 2014. Furthermore, he leads an active research group in synthetic organic chemistry with approx. 20 group members at the level of postdocs, PhD students, MSc Students and others. He has served on the committee of the Danish Council of Independent Research in the field of Natural Sciences (2009–2010), and as the Danish representative of the European Cooperation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Cooperation (COST) for the Domain “Chemistry and Molecular Sciences & Technologies (2006–2010). He has been a senior staff member of the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (2001–current) and the Danish National Research Foundation Center, Center for Insoluble Protein Structures (inSPIN) (2005–2015).

He has a keen interest in the application of transition metal catalysis in organic synthesis. Recent efforts have been focused on providing viable solutions for the production and application of low molecular weight gases in transition metal catalysis with applications for pharmaceutical synthesis and isotope labeling. Furthermore, his group has recently commenced work on the development of selective transformations with CO2. He currently has over 260 publications (H-index of 54, approx. 9000 citations) of which many are in ”high impact” international chemistry journals including the Journal of the American Chemical SocietyAngewandte Chemie International Edition, and Nature Communications. Several papers are within the 1% most cited in the field of Chemistry since their publication.

Marta Victoria, Aarhus University

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aarhus University

Marta Victoria is an Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Production Engineering at Aarhus University. Her research focuses on the modelling of large-scale energy systems with high renewable penetration paying special attention to the role of solar photovoltaics.

She obtained her BSc and MSc in Aerospace Engineering at the Technical University of Madrid where she also got her PhD on high-efficiency photovoltaic modules at the Solar Energy Institute.

She co-develops the open macro-scale energy model PyPSA-Eur-Sec which comprises a high temporal and spatial resolution model of the European system including electricity, heating, land transport, industry transformation, industrial feedstocks, shipping and aviation, as well as a detailed accounting of carbon capture, use, and storage (CCU). She is a member of the Open Energy Modelling Initiative, which aims to promote openness and transparency in energy system modelling.