Karma Sawyer is the Technology Analysis and Commercialization Manager, Windows & Building Envelope Technology Manager, and a Physical Scientist in the Emerging Technologies (ET) Program within the Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office (BTO). In addition to energy efficient building technologies, Sawyer is also interested in gas separation technologies, including, but not limited to CO2 and O2 separation, and thermochemical and thermophysical energy storage.
Sawyer originally joined the Department of Energy in 2010 as an ARPA-E fellow, where she performed technical, environmental and economic assessment of CO2 capture, utilization and sequestration, methods for direct natural gas to liquids conversion and thermal storage. She later took over as an Assistant Program Director, responsible for ARPA-E’s capture portfolio. Prior to joining ARPA-E, Sawyer worked as a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley where she studied phonon localization in silicon nanowires for thermoelectric applications and direct air CO2 capture as a member of the editorial committee for a technology assessment for the American Physical Society Panel on Public Affairs.
Sawyer was named a AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow at ARPA-E (2010) and a fellow at the American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund Summer School as part of the "Probing Dynamics of Liquids and Biomolecules" program (2006). She has authored ten publications and fifteen conference proceedings in the areas of energy, physical chemistry and materials science.
Sawyer received a B.S. with Honors in Chemistry from Syracuse University. She received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2008, focusing on spin-crossover dynamics and homogeneous catalysis reactions using ultrafast infrared spectroscopy and density functional theory (DFT) calculations.