Full Name
Dr. Clea Kolster
Job Title
Partner and Head of Science
Lowercarbon Capital
Speaker Bio
Clea is a Partner and the Head of Science at Lowercarbon Capital and leads all of the firm’s technical research, development, diligence, and scientific strategy efforts. Clea’s distinguished career has always been focused on solving the climate emergency through innovation in technology, business models, and policy.

Prior to joining Lowercarbon, she worked at San Francisco-based energy consulting firm, E3, where she developed electricity resource planning models and economy-wide decarbonization plans for entire states, utilities, and asset owners, with a focus on the role of hard science emerging technologies like hydrogen production methods, long-duration energy storage, biomass conversion, carbon sequestration, geothermal and advanced nuclear. She led the analysis on over 15 projects in her 2 years at E3 including “Achieving Carbon Neutrality in California” (link) for the California Air Resources Board, “Net-Zero New England: Ensuring Electric Reliability in a Low-Carbon Future” (link) in collaboration with the Energy Futures Initiative, and another on “Examining the Role of Nuclear for Decarbonizing the Pacific Northwest”.

Clea also co-founded her own company focused on access to clean cooking fuels in West Africa, having previously worked on clean energy access and investment across emerging markets in East and North Africa. Some of her field research is summarized here. Before that, Clea worked for Veolia, a global leader in waste management and conversion, where she developed investment strategies for non-ferrous metal extraction from biological waste streams and monitoring technologies for ozone-depleting substances. Clea earned her Ph.D. in chemical engineering and energy policy at Imperial College London. She was awarded the Grantham Institute’s full scholarship to conduct her Ph.D. and went on to be the student representative of the Grantham Institute at the Paris COP21 Climate Conference. Clea conducted her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Imperial College London and was the only student selected to spend a year at Columbia University in New York.

Clea’s Ph.D. work focused on the techno-economics of large scale carbon capture and storage systems, part of which she conducted at Stanford University’s Energy Resources & Engineering department. With multiple publications under her belt, including “Cost and Performance of Some Carbon Capture Technology Options for Producing Different Quality CO2 Product Streams” (link) and “CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery: A Catalyst for Gigatonne-Scale Carbon Capture and Storage Deployment?” (link) each cited dozens of times, she was invited to present her research at several international conferences including at the distinguished Stanford Energy Seminar in 2018.

Clea sits on the technical advisory board of Third Derivative, a hard science-driven climate innovation accelerator founded by the Rocky Mountain Institute. She is also a founding fellow of On Deck’s first Climate Tech program where she advises entrepreneurs and scientists on key areas of focus on climate innovation. Clea has moderated and led panel discussions for groups such as AirMiners and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute’s (CELI) annual emPower conference on the future of a decarbonized economy, and US federal policy on climate.

Clea is a global nomad of Iranian and Danish descent. She has lived in Paris, London, New York, Tunis, Nairobi, and Washington, D.C., and along the way, she picked up five languages (more or less). Clea is also an avid alpine skier, US Sailing certified sailor who’s crewed boats over 35 feet long, a two-time half-marathon runner, and longdistance cyclist who once biked from London to Paris (~300 miles) in under 4 days raising more than $10k for a refugee support group along the way.
Dr. Clea Kolster