Dr. Laurie Williams

Dr. Laurie Williams
Professor of Physics & Engineering


  • Energy applications, including alternative energy systems
  • Village Aid Project – meeting basic needs in the developing world
  • Methane emissions
  • Technologies for the developing world


  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, 2001
  • M.S., Environmental Policy and Management, University of Denver, 1997
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, 1983


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About Dr. Laurie Williams

Laurie Williams is a Professor in the Department of Physics & Engineering at Fort Lewis College. She joined the college in 2004. Previously, she was a post-doctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the supercritical fluids experimentation facility. Dr. Williams began her career as a pipeline engineer for Western Gas Supply Company and as an environmental consultant prior to pursuing her Ph.D. and transitioning into academia. She is a faculty adviser and co-director of the Fort Lewis College student organization Village Aid Project and has helped lead many projects to design and construct water systems, sanitation systems and other projects in developing countries such as Myanmar, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Laos and Thailand.

Dr. Williams is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Colorado.

Grant awards

Dr. Williams was awarded $1,000 from the La Plata Electric Cooperative Round Up program for the “Environmental Center Sustainable Houses for Engagement and Discovery (SHED) Project.”

In the news

Professor of Engineering Laurie Williams discussed her experiences and the future of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields in The Durango Herald. [3/1/19]

Local students, community members, and faculty participated in a Village Aid Project in Myanmar in May 2011. The team lived and worked with villagers while installing a  water system, monitoring and evaluating communities where water systems were implemented in prior years, and assessing new communities for future water projects. 

Professor of Physics & Engineering Laurie Williams and Joanna Gordon Casey (Physics, '07) are consulting on the City of Durango's greenhouse gas emission inventory as part of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. [8/1/88]



Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Compressor Stations in the Transmission and Storage Sector: Measurements and Comparisons with the EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program ProtocolEnvironmental Science & Technology, January 2015 

Measurements of Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Gathering Facilities and Processing Plants: Measurement Results,”Environmental Science & Technology, January 2015

Transforming Windows into a Heat Source – Testing Radian Heat Windows at a Co-op HeadquartersCooperative Research Network, January 2007.

Hansen Solubility Parameters: A Users Handbook, Chapter 10, Determination of Hansen Solubility Parameter Values for Carbon Dioxide, Laurie Williams, CRC Press, 2007


During the 2013-14 academic year, Dr. Williams joined a team of researchers from Colorado State University (CSU), Carnegie Mellon University and Aerodyne Research on a project organized by the Environmental Defense Fund. The project is to assess and quantify methane emissions from the natural gas industry. The CSU-led project is the most comprehensive field study to date on methane emissions in major sectors of the U.S. natural gas supply chain. Sectors included in the CSU study encompassed natural gas gathering, processing, transmission and storage facilities.

About the Research 

The growing production and utilization of natural gas in the United States has raised questions about methane emissions from the natural gas system. A CSU team is examining these emissions and the climate implications resulting from this increased usage. Partnering with Carnegie Mellon and Aerodyne Research, the team is estimating the amount of methane lost during the gathering, processing, and long-distance transportation and storage of natural gas, as it is extracted and moved across the country. The researchers used onsite emission measurements and a downwind dual tracer-flux technique to quantify and attribute emissions at the source level. These estimates will inform national and international scientific and policy discussions concerning the identification, quantification and management of methane emissions from the natural gas transportation system.

Dr. Williams Explains the Project 

“The methane emissions study is a high profile research project with national energy consequences and policy implications. Natural gas, comprised primarily of methane – a potent greenhouse gas, has been tapped as a “short-term” bridge or transition fuel as the nation moves towards a carbon-free economy.  However the possible climate benefits of increased natural gas use depend critically on the lifecycle methane emissions.  Current scientific evidence suggests that natural gas system leakage of 2.7% or more eliminates climate benefits promoted by practice of burning natural gas in favor of coal. Several different institutions from around the country are working on projects funded by the Environmental Defense Fund to examine all sectors of the US natural gas industry to determine the impact of natural gas usage on climate change overall.”