Ah-Hyung "Alissa" Park

Dean Ah-Hyung "Alissa" Park

Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of Smueli School of Engineering

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)

Talk:   Creating a New Circular Carbon Economy and Clean Energy Transition via Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage


In order to meet the ever-increasing global energy demands while addressing climate change, the development of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies is one of the critical needs. In particular, there have been significant efforts to develop innovative CO2 capture materials and CO2 conversion technologies to create a new circular carbon economy based on renewable energy. The next-generation CO2 capture materials, which are often water-free or water-lean, have unique structural and chemical properties that allow their applications in a wide range of reactive separation systems. Nanoparticle Organic Hybrid Materials (NOHMs) are 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. It has recently been discovered that NOHMs have interesting electrolyte properties that allow the CO2 capture to be pulled by the in-situ CO2 conversion reactions. The development of these unique nanoscale hybrid materials will not only advance CO2 capture materials design but also introduce unique research opportunities in various sustainable energy and environmental fields. While pursuing CCUS technologies throughout our industries and beyond, we also need to rapidly achieve a clean energy transition to address climate change. This grand challenge requires enormous amounts of energy-related critical materials. In this talk, I will present the challenges and opportunities of different CO2 capture and conversion pathways including Negative Emission Technologies (e.g., Direct Air Capture) that can allow the development of a circular and even “negative” carbon economy, while integrating the recovery of critical materials from unconventional resources.


Ah-Hyung “Alissa” Park is the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, with nearly 200 faculty members and more than 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students.  Prior to beginning her role at UCLA on September 1, 2023, Park had been a faculty member at Columbia University in New York since 2007 where she served as the Lenfest Earth Institute Professor of Climate Change and the Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy.

Park is a world-leading expert on the forms that carbon takes in both engineered and natural systems as humans transform them to extract energy or produce chemicals. Her research focuses on sustainable energy and materials conversion pathways with an emphasis on integrated Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) technologies. She has made multifaceted contributions to various sustainable energy and environmental subjects, from novel materials for carbon capture to chemicals and fuels derived from renewable resources to create a new circular carbon economy.


She holds several patents and has received numerous professional awards and honors, including the Shell Thomas Baron Award in Fluid-Particle Systems and PSRI Lectureship Award from AIChE PTF, U.S. C3E Research Award, and NSF CAREER Award, among others. Park led key global and national discussions on CCUS, including the Mission Innovation Workshop in 2017, and is currently serving on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on Carbon Utilization Infrastructure, Markets, Research and Development. Park is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), American Chemical Society (ACS), Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Born in Seoul, South Korea, and the daughter of an architectural engineer and an artist who loves chemistry, Park received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical and biological engineering from the University of British Columbia in Canada. She also earned a doctorate in chemical and biomolecular engineering at the Ohio State University, from which she later received a distinguished alumni award for academic excellence in 2021.