Senior Research Scientist Vasilis Fthenakis Named IEEE Fellow

Jan 07 2021 | By Jesse Adams

Senior research scientist Vasilis Fthenakis MS’78, adjunct professor of earth and environmental engineering, was recently named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his numerous contributions to photovoltaics technology. The prestigious honor recognizes extraordinary scientific accomplishments.

Founding director of Columbia’s Center for Life Cycle Analysis, Fthenakis develops methodologies, models, and tools for analyzing cleaner energy alternatives. His pioneering work on the environmental impact and resource availability of photovoltaics has accelerated their commercial adoption around the world, while his research into life-cycles of renewables, nuclear, and coal has advanced a broad range of sustainable technologies and policy reforms. He has also focused extensively on solar systems for desalinating water, earning a major grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Fthenakis joined Columbia Engineering in 2006 in a joint appointment with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he spent decades as a senior research scientist and is now a Senior Scientist Emeritus. Author of numerous books and publications, he is also a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the International Energy Foundation (IEF), and a co-founder and board member of the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance. In 2018, he was honored with the IEEE’s William R. Cherry Award for his “pioneering research at the interface of energy and the environment that catalyzed photovoltaic technology advancement and deployment world-wide.”