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September R&T Forum – Disrupting Climate Disruption: Economic and Technological Strategies for Off-setting Carbon Emissions

September 20, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


The growing impacts of climate disruption—including more frequent and more intense storms and droughts—drive the search for ways to disrupt the disruption. This SyracuseCoE Research and Technology Form features two researchers whose work addresses economic and technological strategies for reducing carbon emissions:

Prof. Peter Wilcoxen will present results on the potential role a modest carbon tax could play as part of a tax reform initiative in the United States.  The carbon tax analyzed would reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions substantially.  The new revenue generated by the tax could be used to offset a reduction in the tax on capital income, which would lead to increased investment and GDP.  Including a carbon tax in a tax reform package could thus reduce emissions while expanding the economy.

Ryan Falkenstein-Smith will describe the development of oxygen transport membranes (OTMs) that have the potential to revolutionize carbon capture technology at minimal energy sacrifice and financial cost. OTMs act as air separation units that supply a large volume of high purity oxygen without the need for external circuitry. This occurs when there is a difference in oxygen concentration across the OTM, allowing for oxygen to transport from the air to fuel side, thus eliminating nitrogen and simplifying the combustion process. The combustion products (carbon dioxide and water) can then be separated, captured, and sequestered for future use, allowing for the mitigation of harmful pollutants without sacrificing power plant efficiency.


Ryan Falkenstein-Smith is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University. His research interests include ion transport membranes, carbon capture technology, and green-house gas control. His current work focuses on the experimental and numerical evaluation oxygen transport membranes for oxy-fuel combustion and carbon capture purposes. Additionally, Ryan is highly invested in engineering education research, particularly finding innovative ways to improve student learning capabilities. Ryan is also a recipient of the Syracuse University Graduate Fellowship and the NSF EAPSI Fellowship.

Peter Wilcoxen is a Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, and a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Policy Research. He also serves as Director of the Maxwell School’s Center for Environmental Policy and Administration. Pete’s principal area of study is the effect of environmental and energy policies on economic growth, international trade, and the performance of individual industries. He has published numerous articles and co-authored two books: one on the design of an international policy to control climate change, and one on the design and construction of large-scale economic models. Since 1995, he has served as a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Pete received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard in 1989.

This forum will be moderated by Neil Webb, Director of Business Development at OBG.


September 20, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
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