Carnegie Mellon University

Athanasios Karamalidis

Athanasios Karamalidis

Associate Research Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890


Ensuring the protection of subsurface resources, such as groundwater aquifers, during geologic CO2 sequestration is an important component of risk assessment activities. The release of chemical species regulated by the U.S. EPA Safe Water Drinking Act due to geochemical reactions induced by CO2 migration (or brine migration, both CO2-reacted and unreacted) from storage reservoirs into groundwater or shallow aquifers needs to be addressed when assessing long-term residual risk from geologic storage activities. In several projects being supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, he is working to enhance understanding of potential impacts of CO2 on release, fate, and transport of organic compounds or heavy metals in geological storage formations, and approaches needed for protection of aquifers and subsurface resources. The research is helping to support development of science-based, quantitative methods for calculating site-specific risk profiles as in relation to long-term CO2 storage site stewardship.


PhD 2006 - Democritus University of Thrace
BS 1998 - University of Crete


Research Group: EESS 
Research Center: Scott Institute for Energy Innovation

Current Research Activity

The overarching theme of Professor Karamalidis research is to understand and improve the environmental performance of emerging technologies in energy production: particularly geological storage and utilization of carbon dioxide, unconventional oil and gas development, and geothermal energy and resource recovery.

Karamalidis research is focused on assessing potential impacts on groundwater and developing strategies for mitigating impacts. His research is also focused on developing new technologies for resource recovery (e.g. for extraction and recovery of critical materials including rare earth elements) and understanding the fundamental science for the environmental and geochemical processes involved in water-energy production domain.


Noack C., Jain J., Stegemeier J., Hakala A., Karamalidis A.K. (2015) "Rare Earth and Trace Element Geochemistry of Outcrop and Core Samples from the Marcellus Shale", Geochemical Transactions 16:6.

Noack C., Dzombak D., Karamalidis A.K. (2015) "Determination of Rare Earth Elements in Hypersaline Solutions Using Low Volume Liquid-Liquid Extraction", Environmental Science & Technology.

Noack C., Dzombak D., Karamalidis A.K. (2014) "Rare Earth Element Distributions and Trends in Natural Water with a Focus on Groundwater". Environmental Science & Technology 48(8): 4317-4326.

Parthasarathy H., Baltrus J., Dzombak D.A., Karamalidis A.K. (2014) "A Method for Preparation and Cleaning of Uniformly Sized, Arsenopyrite Particles for Dissolution Experiments", Geochemical Transactions, 15:14.

Namhata A., Small M.J., Karamalidis A.K. (2014) "Multi-model Weighted Predictions for CH4 and H2S Solubility in Freshwater and Saline Formation Waters Relevant to Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction", International Journal of Coal Geology, 131: 177-185.

Parthasarathy H., Dzombak D., Karamalidis A.K. (2013) "A Small-Scale, Flow-through Column System to determine the Rates of Mineral Dissolution at High Temperature and Pressure and Salinity". Chemical Geology, 354: 65-72 (2013).

Karamalidis, A.K., Torres, S.G., Hakala, J.A., Shao, H., Cantrell, K.J. and Carroll, S. (2013) "Trace Metal Source Terms in Carbon Sequestration Environments", Environmental Science & Technology, 47(1): 322–329.

Areas of Interest

  • Resource recovery: emphasis on new technologies for the extraction and recovery of critical materials and rare earth elements
  • Geochemistry of rare earth elements
  • Unconventional Oil and Gas: Shale gas operations geochemistry, hydraulic fracturing, Enhanced oil recovery
  • Energy and environment
  • Geochemical phenomena under CO2 storage conditions in geologic formations, groundwater and shallow aquifers
  • Characterization, fate, and remediation of oil-derived hydrocarbons in water, soil, and sediment
  • Hazardous and toxic waste site remediation
  • Water chemistry and geochemical modeling of aqueous systems

Recent Awards 

  • 2014: received Berkman Faculty Development Award on “Technologies for the Recovery of Rare Earth Elements”
  • 2014: named ORISE Faculty Fellow, Unconventional Oil & Gas, NETL U.S. DOE
  • 2012: named ORISE Faculty Fellow, Geologic CO2 Storage, NETL U.S. DOE

Athanasios Karamalidis: The Extraction & Recovery of Rare Earth Elements

Rare earth elements are everywhere. In your cell phones, batteries, TV screens… Our ever-increasing demand for technology means we’re using more and more of them, so CEE’s Athanasios Karamalidis is coming up with creative ways of extracting rare earth elements, while being environmentally mindful.