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18th International Conference on Energy Sustainability > Program > Symposium to Honor Professor Aldo Steinfeld

Symposium to Honor Professor Aldo Steinfeld

Prof. Aldo Steinfeld
Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering
ETH Z├╝rich

The Symposium to honor Prof. Aldo Steinfeld at the 18th ASME International Conference on Energy Sustainability is sponsored by the ASME Solar Energy Division and is being organized to recognize Prof. Steinfeld's seminal contributions to the science and engineering of solar energy conversion.

Prof. Steinfeld will retire from the ETH Zurich after this year, and he will leave behind a legacy that resonates throughout the world. He has been a world leader in developing innovative technologies aimed at the solar-driven production of power, fuels, and chemicals. His work has sought to address some of the most challenging energy and environmental problems of our times, spanning from fundamental research in thermodynamics, transport phenomena, multiphase reacting flows, and high-flux optics to applications in concentrated solar energy, thermochemical processing, CO2 capture and utilization, thermal energy storage and sustainable energy systems. In particular, he is most renowned for his pioneering work in solar fuels. He has conducted R&D on short- to mid-term pathways to solar fuels by solar-upgrading the calorific value of carbonaceous feedstock through reforming and gasification processes. However, his long-term goal has been to reverse the combustion process by producing solar fuels exclusively from CO2 and H2O via redox cycles. One of his most notorious achievements was the first-ever demonstration of the entire thermochemical process chain to synthetic drop-in fuels from sunlight and air.

He has published over 360 refereed journal papers, including publications in Science and Nature, and filed 27 patents. Perhaps his most enduring legacy has been the mentoring of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers: 57 PhD students to date have successfully completed their PhD dissertations under his guidance and 18 postdoctoral researchers have worked with him throughout his distinguished career. Many of these PhD students and postdoctoral researchers have followed in Prof. Steinfeld’s footsteps and pursued careers in academia at top institutions situated throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.

Born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay, Aldo Steinfeld completed his BSc in Aeronautical Engineering at the Technion in 1983 and his MSc in Mechanical Engineering at Tel Aviv University in 1986. He performed his doctoral research at the University of Minnesota under Prof. Edward A. Fletcher, studying the carbothermal reduction of metal oxides in solar-driven processes, receiving his PhD in 1989. His scientific advancement continued at the Weizmann Institute of Science as a postdoctoral fellow where he was first introduced to solar tower technologies. Switzerland ultimately became his basecamp for reimagining his brand of solar thermochemistry. He joined the Paul Scherrer Institute in 1991, where he later directed the Solar Technology Laboratory until 2014. In parallel, he pursued an academic career at ETH Zurich, where he has held the Chair of Renewable Energy Carriers since 1999.

During his illustrious career, Prof. Steinfeld has established an impressive record of service to the scientific and engineering communities. He served as the Editor-in-Chief of the ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering (2005-2009) and co-Editor of the CRC Handbook on Hydrogen Energy (2014). His contributions to science and education have been recognized with numerous accolades, including the ASME Solar Energy Division's Yellott Award (2008), the European Research Council Advanced Grant (2012), the ISES-International Solar Energy Society's Farrington Daniels Award (2013), the Heat Transfer Memorial Award (2013), the ASME Kreith Energy Award (2016), and the AIChE-American Institute of Chemical Engineer’s Sustainable Engineering Research Award (2022). Two spin-off companies have emerged from his research, founded by his former PhD students: Climeworks commercializes the technology for CO2 capture from air, and Synhelion commercializes the technology for solar fuel production. Prof. Steinfeld was inducted into the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (2010) and the Pan-American Academy of Engineering (2016).


D. Yogi Goswami, Ph.D, PE

D. Yogi Goswami, Ph.D, PE
Distinguished University Professor and Director,
Clean Energy Research Center
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Editor-in-Chief, Solar Compass Journal

Presentation Title: Hybrid Solar CSP, PV and Thermal Energy Storage for Baseload Power, Industrial Process Heat and Solar Fuels



In honor of Prof. Steinfeld's broad contributions to the field of concentrated solar thermochemistry.

Symposium Organizers

Peter Loutzenhiser, Georgia Institute of Technology
Jonathan Scheffe, University of Florida
Erik Koepf, Dupont
Sophia Haussener, EPFL