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Eric Larson

Eric Larson
D.W. Brooks Lecture Date: 10/02/2007

About the Guest Speaker

Eric Larson is a senior member of the Energy Technology Assessment/Energy Policy Analysis Group at the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI). His research interests include technical, economic and policy-related assessments of advanced clean-energy systems. His work focuses on electric power and transport fuel production from carbon-rich fuels (biomass, coal, natural gas) and for efficient end use of energy.

Through his studies, Dr. Larson has participated in collaborative research in Brazil, China, Cuba, India, Italy, Jamaica and Sweden.

He currently co-leads a new PEI program on low-emission energy strategies and technologies for China in collaboration with colleagues at Tsinghua University in Beijing. This program aims to describe least-cost energy, long term futures for China. Their research is based on carbon-rich fuels and characterized by near-zero emissions of both local air pollution and greenhouse gases. Their goal is to define critical paths to realizing such long-term futures, including identifying key near-term enabling research and development, technologies, strategies and policies.

Dr. Larson’s previous research efforts focused on analysis of production and conversion systems for modernizing renewable biomass as an energy source, including advanced gasification-based technologies for power generation in various advanced gas turbine cycles and for production of methanol, hydrogen and other transportation fuels.

These efforts have included assessments of potential gas-turbine-based biomass electricity supply and use in sugarcane industries, pulp and paper industries and stand-alone electric power generation.

Dr. Larson has been involved with transportation fuel production assessments from biomass and municipal solid waste. He has also analyzed the economics of alternative vehicle technologies based on the fuels.

Periodically, Dr. Larson assists the Global Environment Facility in developing, reviewing and implementing proposals. These include proposals for development of national energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and for accelerating the commercialization of advanced clean-energy technologies for application in developing countries.

In 1979, Dr. Larson received his bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. In 1981 and 1983, he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he specialized in heat transfer.

He then joined the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Princeton University, which merged into the Princeton Environmental Institute in 2001. During this time, he served on the research staff of Lund University’s Department of Environmental and Energy Systems Studies and was a visiting research engineer in Sweden from 1988 to 1989.