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Research Associates


Rob Van Haaren started his MS-PhD work in Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University in September 2008.  He graduated from University of Technology of Eindhoven with a BSc degree in Innovation Sciences. Rob's PhD research at Columbia's Center for Life Cycle Analysis is partly sponsored by First Solar, the world's largest manufacturer and installer of thin-film solar modules. Rob has also started Solar Journey USA, a project that aims to educate the public about solar energy and electric cars. Rob's research interests include:


Thomas Nikolakakis is a recipient of the Onassis Foundation and Gerontelis Foundation scholarships for research on solar energy penetration in global grids. He obtained his Bachelors in Environmental Engineering from the Technical University of Crete, where he graduated first in the class of 2007. As a PhD student at Columbia University Thomas is modeling the components of the electricity grid, studying ways to minimize the technical and environmental impact of large-scale solar and wind integration. Thomas' research interests include:


Marc Perez is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Egleston Doctoral Scholar and PhD candidate at Columbia University's Department of Earth and Engineering researching the lowest environmental and economic cost solutions to solar resource intermittency. He has published 14 papers on many facets of the solar energy industry ranging from geopolitical and technical issues surrounding intercontinental-scale solar PV deployment to the environmental life cycle cost assessment of BIPV. He brings his expertise from 3 years working in the PV industry as a project manager, engineer and system designer at altPOWER inc. He also has consulting experience on photovoltaic system design, feasibility, resource assessment and policy development for clients such as the US Department of Defense, NYC Mayor Bloomberg's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, Inerjys Ventures, Finlo Renewable Energy, SOPER-SAS and others. Marc sold wind REC products at Community Energy, performed PV integration studies at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Strategic Energy Analysis Center, and analyzed sources of PV system degradation at Powerlight, Inc (now SunPower).



Constantine Spanos was awarded the B.Eng. from the City College of New York with highest distinction in 2010. Worked for the regional MPO of New York City on transportation engineering and planning, and later as an employee under a DEP contract in the field of civil/sanitary engineering. Currently an MS-PhD student since 2012 in EEAE focusing on:




Research Asssistants



Rick Betita is a MS graduate student in Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University. He also received his BS also from EEE from Columbia, with a concentration in Sustainable Energy and Materials. His research interests include:

  • solar energy
  • organic thin film photovoltaics
  • industrial ecology
  • economic input-output life cycle assessment (EIO-LCA)
  • hybrid life cycle assessmen



Magdalena Klemun joined Columbia University in 2012 as a Fulbright Grantee, after obtaining her Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from Vienna University of Technology. Prior to coming to New York Magdalena interned in energy companies in England and Thailand and regularly wrote articles for one of Austria's national newspapers (Die Presse) since 2005, focusing on urban development, energy, health and nutrition. As a graduate student her research interests include:



Ioannis Konsoulas obtained his BS degree in Mining and Metallurgical Engineering from the National technical University of Athens and currently pursues his MSc degree in the department of Earth & Environmental Engineering, Columbia University. He is a recipient of the Gerontelis Foundation schollarship for work on penetration of large scale PV systems. Ioannis redsearch interests include:



Racine Nassau is a senior undergraduate student in Earth and Environmental Engineering, with a concentration in Sustainable Energy and Materials. Her research interests include:



Irene Pavlakis obtained her Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from National Technical University of Athens, Greece in 2011. Currently, Irene is an MSc/PhD student, since 2012, in Earth and Environmental Engineering and an IGERT trainee (Solving Urbanization Challenges by Design). Her research interests include:



Boris Valensi is a Master student in the Earth and Environmental Engineering department. He is doing his master thesis at the CLCA, studying the environmental impact of shale gas for electricity production. Boris obtained his Bachelor of Science and a Master in Technological Innovation at the Ecole Polytechnique, in France. He is mainly focusing on:



Visiting Research Associates


Brendan Cleary graduated from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) with first class honors in both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees in 2006. At the moment Brendan is a PhD researcher from the Department of Civil and Building Services Engineering at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and Dublin Energy Lab, Dublin, Ireland. His PhD research entitled ‘The Potential Economic Benefits of Wind Power and Energy Storage in Ireland’ aims to assess the economic benefits of large scale energy storage on the 2020 Irish power system, particularly enhanced wind penetration.  Brendan was recently awarded the Fiosraigh Student Internship Award 2012. His research interests include:

    1. Life cycle analysis
    2. Renewable energy systems, particularly wind energy
    3. Energy storage
    4. Energy policy and economics



Sander Mann is currently a visiting student at the Center for Life Cycle Analysis. He is enrolled in the Energy Science MSc program at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, where he focuses on photovoltaic energy. Before that he graduated from Utrecht University with a BSc in physics, with emphasis on nuclear fusion. Within the Center for Life Cycle Analysis he is writing his thesis on the environmental profile of future crystalline silicon solar cells. His research interests are:

Roberto Turconi is PhD student in Environmental Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark. He graduated in Environmental Engineering at Polytechnic of Milan in 2010. Roberto has been a Visiting Researcher at CLCA during fall 2012, working on life cycle assessment of a complex energy system. His major research interests are:


Former Research Associates

Dr. Dunjo received his Ph.D in Chemical Engineering, Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona, Spain in 2010. He spent the last nine months of his doctorate research at the CLCA and during this time he prepared and published three journal papers on Hazard Identification in the Chemical Process Industry. He is currently a Safety and Risk Senior Consultant with ioMosaic, working on pressure relief and flare system evaluations for clients in the petrochemical, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. He has strong competence and experience performing Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) using several methodologies, and Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA) for both emergency and land-use planning purposes.



Athanasios Bourtsalas studied Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Patras in Greece (BS+M.Eng.) At Columbia University he obtained a MSc degree in Earth Resources Engineering from the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering under the supervision of Professor Fthenakis, with a scholarship from the Center for Life Cycle Analysis. He is currently a PhD candidate at Imperial College London, working on high value applications for residues from waste to energy, under the supervision of Professor Cheeseman. At the same time Thanassis is a Research Associate at the Earth Engineering Center, Columbia University, working with Professor Themelis on waste-to-energy projects. His interests include Waste-to-Energy, environmental modeling/management and Life Cycle Analysis.




Kevin Ho holds an MS in Environmental Engineering and an MBA from Columbia University. At the CLCA he worked on statistical analysis of extreme solar irradiation fluctuations. Kevin has desired to work in the PV industry since his youth. His dream became reality when he joined SolarWorld Korea in 2009. There, Kevin ascended quickly to become Head of Supply Chain as well as Head of Product Management. In these roles, Kevin developed deep supply- and demand-side knowledge and connections within the PV industry, as well as a strong understanding of PV module technology and design. He has also worked with US developers, providing technology and financing advice for PV power plant developments.
Kevin has also worked for the Boston Consulting Group, the Chicago Climate Exchange, and founded Kudos Systems, an IT and Management Strategy consultancy in New York City. He is an avid athlete, card player and pianist, and currently resides in Singapore.



Jonathan Krones is a PhD student in the MIT Engineering Systems Division with a research focus on industrial ecology and waste management studies. His current research is oriented towards quantifying the total volume of industrial waste generated in the United States and understanding the relative environmental impacts of "upstream" (industrial) and "downstream" (municipal) solid waste. Jonathan received his Masters degree from Columbia University where he was a research assistant in the CLCA, focused on characterizing direct GHG emissions from PV manufacturing. Before starting his PhD, he worked in the White House Office of the Federal Environmental Executive and as a research scientist at the new Singapore University of Technology and Design.