2021 Distinguished Lecture: Carolyn Koh

The Promise and Challenges of Gas Hydrates

Gas hydrates are ice-like solids comprised of a crystalline lattice of hydrogen-bonded water cages that can trap small gas molecules, such as methane and carbon dioxide. Understanding and controlling the gas hydrate crystal growth processes and interfacial interactions is important in several energy applications, including mitigating the potential environmental impacts during fuel production and transportation. Gas hydrates can present major safety, economic, and environmental hazards when they form and block flowlines producing and transporting oil and natural gas. Conversely, gas hydrate technologies may be developed for energy storage of fuels or carbon capture in gas hydrate crystals, or as an alternative potential energy resource from naturally occurring hydrate deposits.


John SpeerCarolyn A. Koh is the William K. Coors Distinguished Chair & Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Director of the Center for Hydrate Research (annual income >$1.5M) at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). She was the interim Department Head of Chemical & Biological Engineering (May-Aug 2019). She obtained her BSc and Ph.D. degrees from University of W. London and postdoctoral training at Cornell University. She was a Reader at King’s College, London University before joining CSM. She has been visiting Professor at Cornell, Penn State and London University. She was a consultant for the Gas Research Institute in Chicago and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Associate Editor of the Society for Petroleum Engineers Journal, Chair of the US DOE Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee, and served on the US Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, and many more. She was elected Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Gas Hydrates in 2018 and was the Chair of the International Conference on Gas Hydrates (ICGH9) in 2017. She has established internationally recognized gas hydrate research programs over the last two decades at King’s College, University of London and the Colorado School of Mines. She has received several awards, including the Young Scientist Award of the British Association for Crystal Growth, ConocoPhillips Faculty Award (2010-2012), CSM Young Faculty Research Excellence Award (2012), Dean’s Award (2016), Distinguished Lecturer Award (2021). Also recently, IChemE Guggenheim Medal 2021Guggenheim Medal – IChemE. Yeram S. Touloukian Award 2021. Yeram S. Touloukian Award – ASME. She has over 200 publications (Google Scholar h-index: 71, citations: 27,149).