The Earth Engineering Center (EEC) was formed in 1995. Its original mission was to direct engineering research on processes and products that balance the increasing use of materials, the finite resources of the Earth, and the need for clean air, water, and soil. EEC introduced the teaching of Industrial Ecology at Columbia University, was the first engineering unit of Columbia's Earth Institute, and co-organized the 1997 Global Warming International Conference (GW8), held at Columbia University.
In 1998, the historic Henry Krumb School of Mines, the first mining and metallurgy school in the U.S. (1864) and the foundation of SEAS, was divided into the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering (EEE), the first such program to be accredited in the U.S., the Materials Science Program, and the Earth Engineering Center. EEC has contributed to the formation of EEE and several important research units at Columbia (Clean Ocean and Shore Trust, Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, Water Center, and Center for Life Cycle Analysis).
As of 1998, EEC has concentrated on advancing the goals of sustainable waste management in the U.S. and globally. Economic development has resulted in the annual generation of billions of tons of used materials which are a considerable resource and, when not managed properly, constitute a major environmental problem both in developed and developing nations. This research has engaged many M.S. and Ph.D. students on all aspects of waste management.
In 2003, in collaboration with the U.S. Energy Recovery Council, EEC formed the Waste to Energy Research and Technology Council (WTERT). The experimental arm of WTERT (CCL) is headed by Prof. Marco Castaldi of the Chemical Engineering Department of the City College (CCNY) of the City University of New York (CUNY). As of 2012, WTERT has sister organizations in twelve other countries including Canada, China, Germany, Greece, India and the U.K.
In 2012, the Wastewater and Climate Change laboratory, headed by Prof. Kartik Chandran of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University, joined the Earth Engineering Center. This important new resource allows EEC to conduct research on the sustainable management of solid, liquid, and gaseous residues of human activity.
For selected publications please see: http://www.seas.columbia.edu/earth/wtert/wpublication.html