DirectorSally M. Benson
GCEP Director, Stanford University
Benson Lab: http://pangea.stanford.edu/research/bensonlab/
Acting Director, Senior Fellow, Precourt Institute for Energy
Senior Fellow, by courtesy, Woods Institute for the Environment
Stanford Fellow 2009-2011
Sally M. Benson was appointed GCEP Director in January 2009 after holding the Executive Director post since March 2007.
A Professor (Research) in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) in the School of Earth Sciences, Benson has been a member of Stanford’s faculty since 2007. Her research group in ERE investigates fundamental characteristics of carbon dioxide storage in geologic formations as a means of climate change mitigation. (The Benson Lab website is at http://pangea.stanford.edu/research/bensonlab). She teaches courses on carbon dioxide capture and storage and greenhouse gas mitigation technologies.
Prior to joining GCEP, Benson worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), serving in a number of capacities, including Division Director for Earth Sciences, Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences, and Deputy Director for Operations.
A ground water hydrologist and reservoir engineer, Benson has conducted research to address a range of issues related to energy and the environment. For the past 10 years, she has studied how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide from power plants and pumping it into deep underground formations for permanent sequestration. Benson was a coordinating lead author on the influential 2005 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. Her research interests also include technologies and energy systems for a low-carbon future, groundwater quality and remediation, biogeochemistry of selenium, and geotechnical instrumentation for subsurface characterization and monitoring.
Benson graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in geology. She completed her graduate education in 1988 at the University of California, Berkeley, after receiving master’s and doctoral degrees, both in materials science and mineral engineering.
The author or co-author of over 160 scientific publications, Benson is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.