Franklin "Lynn" Orr was the founding director of the Precourt Institute for Energy from 2009 until 2014, when he became the Obama administration's under secretary for science and energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. He was also founding director of Stanford’s Global Climate & Energy Project from 2002 to 2008 and dean of the School of Earth Sciences (now the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences) from 1994 to 2002. He joined Stanford's faculty in 1985.
As a scientist, Orr researched the physical mechanisms of gas injection processes for oil recovery and for storage of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, in oil and gas reservoirs, deep saline aquifers and coal beds. He developed computational tools for prediction of flow performance at field scale in subsurface, heterogeneous rocks. Later, he explored the climate impact of coalbed fires and controlling them by injecting inert gases, including CO2.