Research Contributors

About Our Team

Cornell’s deep geothermal heat research team is composed of faculty, staff and graduate students across various disciplines, whose combined backgrounds and expertise support several collaborative projects. Follow the researcher’s personal websites to learn more about them. 

Jefferson W. Tester

Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University Chief Scientist for Earth Source Heat 
Tester is the Croll Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems and Chief Scientist for Earth Source Heat. His research focuses on improving the technical and economic performance of ESH reservoir and drilling systems.

Teresa E. Jordan

Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Jordan’s Earth Source Heat research centers on documentation of geological materials and conditions below and around the Cornell campus. She led a Play Fairway Analysis of the spatial variability of conditions favorable to direct use geothermal plays in the Appalachian Basin portions of New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Steve Beyers

University Facilities Staff
Beyers leads a small group of civil and environmental engineering professionals looking to bring sustainability to practical use at Cornell. He provides technical and project management support for the Earth Source Heating project. He has previously served as project manager for the original Climate Action Plan and has provided technical support for Cornell’s NYC Tech campus geothermal and solar projects, and the Combined Heat and Power project. 

J. Olaf Gustafson

University Facilities Staff
Gustafson is a geologist in the Civil & Environmental group within Facilities Engineering who is committed to supporting geothermal energy projects. He has been deeply involved with planning and execution of the NYC Tech campus geothermal heating and cooling system and the proposed Earth Source Heat deep geothermal project. He strives to promote greater collaboration between the academic research and facilities operations portions of the University.

Patrick Fulton

Assistant Professor, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

Croll Sesquicentennial Fellow

Fulton’s work combines hydrogeology, thermal geophysics, and geomechanics to study hydrologic and thermal processes within faults and fracture zones. His research involves observation, quantitative analysis, and numerical modeling, and he has considerable experience with scientific drilling projects and borehole observatories both on land and offshore.

Nicolás Rangel Jurado

M.S. Graduate Program
First year graduate student Rangel Jurado brings geological and business training to graduate research in support of Earth Source Heat. His initial Cornell research focuses on better characterization of the potential reservoir rocks.

Adam Hawkins

Postdoctoral Fellow, Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Hawkins’ research addresses problems related to predicting heat and reactive mass transport in porous media. He uses a combination of field tests, laboratory experiments, and computational models to understand how Earth’s subsurface can be utilized as a sustainable energy resource.


Larry D. Brown

Brown is the Sidney Kaufman Professor in Geophysics. His research focuses on the application of multichannel seismic reflection methods for the exploration of the continental lithosphere.


Koenraad Beckers

Energy Contractor

Chemical and Biomoloecular Engineering, Ph.D. ’16

Beckers focuses on renewable energy, including geothermal, solar and wind, energy efficiency and energy storage. A tool he developed for techno-economic analysis of electricity and heat production from geothermal reservoirs,  GEOPHIRES (GEOthermal energy for the Production of Heat and electricity (“IR”) Economically Simulated), was adopted by DOE for broad use. He is involved in CUBO to perform analyses of region-wide socio-economic models of deep direct use heating projects.

Lauren McLeod

Graduate Student
McLeod is a Ph.D. candidate in Physics, whose research focus is seismology. She has analyzed the seismic activity recorded during a one year deployment of seismometers, during 2015, in the region around Ithaca.


Matthew Pritchard

Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Pritchard is a geophysicist who measures changes in the shape of the Earth using the satellite-based InSAR technique (among others) and develops models of the myriad natural and human processes that cause these changes including: earthquakes, volcanoes, groundwater, energy production, landslides, and glaciers.

Zach Katz photo

Zachary Katz

Undergraduate student

Katz uses data from Cornell’s CorNET21 seismic network to understand the background seismicity of Ithaca. His research focuses on determining the network’s capabilities and explaining what types of seismic activity are present. He hopes to use CorNET21 to monitor ESH geothermal drilling and operations.

Maia Zhang


Zhang worked with Zachary Katz, Professor Matthew Pritchard, Jane Suehy and Weston Geophysical to create a comprehensive report on the 2020 – 2021 CorNET21 data. Among other things, she examined event distribution, velocity models, and possible anthropogenic events with the goal of informing the public on accomplished work and future steps.

Former participants

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