Thomas Kirchstetter

Thomas Kirchstetter

Division Director: Energy Analysis & Environmental Impacts Division
Scientific Division Director


Dr. Kirchstetter is a Senior Scientist at Berkeley Lab.  He serves as the Director of the Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division, which supports decision making in the electricity sector, provides the technical basis for DOE’s appliance and equipment energy efficiency standards, and analyses energy systems to inform technology development and deployment. Kirchstetter is also the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Cyclotron Road Program, which supports entrepreneurs who are creating tomorrow’s clean energy future.  He holds a concurrent appointment as an Adjunct Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, where he teaches courses and mentors student researchers. Kirchstetter has served as an editor of the journals Aerosol Science & Technology and Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics and organizer of the International Conference on Carbonaceous Particles in the Atmosphere.  

Kirchstetter entered the DOE national laboratory system as a student intern at Brookhaven National Lab in 1992. After earning a PhD in Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, Kirchstetter won the DOE Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1998 and began conducting atmospheric aerosol research under the mentorship of Tihomir Novakov at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where he as has spent the past 20+ years of his career. Kirchstetter is well known for his research on carbonaceous aerosols and the characterization of motor vehicle emissions and control technologies. Kirchstetter was a member of the Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program’s third cohort and is a cofounder of the Oppenheimer Leadership Network

Visit Kirchstetter's research page and publications to learn more.

Kirchstetter lives in Oakland, California with his wife and kids and enjoys playing music, fishing, hiking, and cooking.



Environmental Engineering, PhD, UC Berkeley


Environmental Science & Technology's Best Paper's of 2017: Tom Kirchstetter -  June 20th 2018

A study involving Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been named among the best of 2017 in a new ranking from Environmental Science & Technology, one of the leading journals in its field. "High-Resolution Air Pollution Mapping with Google Street View Cars: Exploiting Big Data," was the top environmental technology paper in ES&T's roundup, which also named top papers in three other categories.  

Joshua Apte, formerly Berkeley Lab's first ITRI-Rosenfeld Fellow and now a professor at University of Texas at Austin, led the study. Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division Director Tom Kirchstetter and former staff scientist Melissa Lunden, now Chief Scientist at Aclima, are co-authors of the research, which was sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and included other researchers from the U.S., Canada and Netherlands.

Aiming to address gaps in air quality data, the researchers equipped roving Google Street View vehicles with a fast-response pollution measurement platform across a 30-square-kilometer (11.5-square-mile) area of Oakland, California. The technique proved capable of capturing urban air pollution patterns with a spatial precision far greater than what is possible through conventional fixed-site monitoring.

"We are grateful to these exceptional researchers and the thousands of other authors whose efforts have given us the tools to navigate the environmental challenges facing the modern world," wrote David Sedlak, ES&T's editor in chief, noting that the journal posts approximately five new papers a day.

2016 R&D 100 Award: Cool Roof Time Machine -  November 9th 2016

A Berkeley Lab-led team of scientists established a method to simulate soiling and weathering of roofing material, reproducing in the lab in only a few days what would naturally take three years. This “cool roof time machine” protocol has been approved by ASTM International, a widely referenced standards body, as a standard practice for the industry, and is expected to accelerate deployment of cool roofs, which have been shown to reduce a building’s energy use and mitigate the urban heat island effect.

R&D Magazine’s annual R&D 100 Awards recognize the top 100 technology products from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research. For more information on the awards, see the links below.

Outstanding Mentor Award -  June 2nd 2006

To recognize his "willingness to share knowledge and inspire and instill confidence in the next generation of scientists and engineers," Tom Kirchstetter was given an Outstanding Mentor Award by the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Journal and Editorial Board Memberships

Aerosol Science and Technology Journal, Editor, 2013 – 2018
Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Editor, 2006 – 2013