Penn Carbon Capture Expert Joins Biden Administration

The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy congratulates Jennifer Wilcox, Presidential Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, on joining the Biden Administration as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy.

Prior to this appointment, Wilcox was the first faculty research appointment of the Kleinman Center, based at Penn’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design. Her professorial appointment in the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is the home of her lab, where her team continues to work on innovative ways to avoid new CO2 emissions and to remove old emissions from the air.

“I am excited to serve as a part of the Department of Energy for the incoming Biden Administration. Improving how we manage carbon as we transition to a clean-energy economy will be critical to meeting our climate goals, and I’m eager to bring my expertise in carbon capture and removal to the team,” said Wilcox.

Wilcox’s research focuses on carbon management, and has implications for a variety of applied technologies, including directly removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; capturing it at the source (from power plants and the industrial sector); and sequestering it safely for re-use or permanent storage underground. Wilcox’s research will continue for the duration of her appointment under the direction of Research Assistant Professor Peter Psarras.

“Penn Engineering prides itself on creating innovative, technology-based solutions that are necessary to solve real-world societal problems,” said Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. “Jennifer’s excellent work, both in technology and policy, is central to solving key global energy and environmental challenges and she will be an excellent leader at the Department of Energy.”

Wilcox came to Penn in 2020 from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she was the James H. Manning Chaired Professor of Chemical Engineering. She has served on several committees including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society. She also has served as a Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute. She is the author of the first textbook on carbon capture, published in March 2012 and more recently a co-editor on the CDR Primer.

“Jennifer has brought such excitement and passion for her work at Penn, I know she will hit the ground running in her new role to address the most pressing energy and climate issues of our times at the federal level,” said Fritz Steiner, Dean and Paley Professor at the Weitzman School of Design, home of the Kleinman Center.

More from Jennifer Wilcox:

About the Kleinman Center. The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy operates within the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design. Its mission is to create the conditions for policy innovation that support a just and efficient transition to sustainable energy.

About the Weitzman School. The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design prepares students to address complex sociocultural and environmental issues through thoughtful inquiry, creative expression, and innovation. As a diverse community of scholars and practitioners, we are committed to advancing the public good—both locally and globally—through art, design, planning, and preservation.

About Penn Engineering. The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania is comprised of six academic departments and numerous interdisciplinary centers, institutes, and laboratories. Penn Engineering’s goal is to prepare students for leadership roles in a technological world where creativity, critical quantitative thinking, effective communication skills and a strong commitment to humane values are essential.

Media Contact: Lindsey Samahon | 215.898.5900