Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Costa Samaras is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. His research spans energy, climate change, infrastructure and defense analysis. Costa analyzes how energy technology and infrastructure system designs affect energy use and national security, resiliency to climate change impacts, economic and innovation outcomes, and life cycle environmental externalities. He is an affiliated faculty member in Carnegie Mellon's Scott Institute for Energy Innovation and the College of Engineering's Energy Science, Technology and Policy Program.
Costa is also an Adjunct Senior Researcher at the RAND Corporation and a Professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He served on a National Academies Committee evaluating the Department of Energy's advanced transportation energy research portfolio, serves on the Transportation Research Board's Alternative Transportation Fuels and Technologies Committee, is an Associate Editor of the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, and serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate. He has published numerous studies examining plug-in and autonomous vehicles, renewable electricity, transitions in the energy sector, conventional and low-carbon fuels, and was one of the Lead Author contributors to the Global Energy Assessment. Costa has also led analyses on energy security, strategic basing, and infrastructure issues faced by the Department of Defense. He has presented his research to senior appointed governmental leaders, former Cabinet Secretaries, senior federal and military decisionmakers, Congress Members and professional staff, and the leadership of major utilities, automotive companies and technology firms. From 2009 to 2014 he was a RAND Corporation researcher, most recently as a Senior Engineer. From 2008 to 2009 he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Climate Decisionmaking Center at Carnegie Mellon, working on electric transportation and low-carbon technology policy. From 1999 to 2004 he was an engineer working on several multibillion-dollar infrastructure megaprojects in New York, including the extension of the Number 7 Subway Line in Manhattan, and also worked on the rebuilding of the Subway Line underneath of the World Trade Center after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Costa received a joint Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy and from Carnegie Mellon, a M.P.A. in Public Policy from the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University. He also is a Leadership and Excellence in Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional with a building design and construction specialty.
EducationPh.D. 2008, Carnegie Mellon University
Areas of Interest
- Analysis of alternative and conventional electricity and fuels
- Environmental life cycle assessment and policy
- Civil infrastructure systems design and resiliency for climate change impacts
- Low-carbon energy system transitions
- Defense energy and infrastructure investment under uncertainty
- National security implications of energy policy and climate change impacts
- Energy and infrastructure innovation and R&D investments
- Abramzon, S., Samaras, C., Curtright, A., Litovitz, A., Burger, N. (2014). "Estimating the Consumptive Use Costs of Shale Natural Gas Extraction on Pennsylvania Roadways." Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 10.1061/(ASCE)IS.1943-555X.0000203 , 06014001.
- Anderson, J., Kalra, N., Stanley, K., Sorensen, P., Samaras, C., Oluwatola, O. Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers, Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, RR-443-RC, 2014.
- Samaras, C., Willis, H.H, 2013. Capabilities-Based Planning for Energy Security at Department of Defense Installations, RAND Corporation, RR-162-RC, Santa Monica, CA.
- Litovitz, A., Curtright, A., Abramzon, S., Burger, N., Samaras, C. 2013. Estimating regional air-quality damages from Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania. Environmental Research Letters, 8 014017.
- Samaras, C., Haddad, A., Grammich. C., Webb, K.W., Obtaining Life-Cycle Cost Effective Facilities in the Department of Defense, RAND Corporation, RR-169-OSD, Santa Monica, CA.
- Michalek, J.J., Chester, M., Jaramillo, P., Samaras, C., Shiau, C-S.,N., Lave, L.B. 2011. Valuation of Plug-in Vehicle Life Cycle Air Emissions and Oil Displacement Benefits. Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences of the United States of America. 108(40) 16554-16558.
- Ortiz, D.S., Curtright, A.E., Samaras, C., Litovitz, A., Burger, N. 2011. Near-term Opportunities for Integrating Biomass into the U.S. Electricity Supply: Technical Considerations, RAND Corporation, TR-984-NETL, Santa Monica, CA.
- Weber, C., Jaramillo, P., Marriott, J., Samaras, C., 2010. Life cycle assessment of grid electricity: What do we know and what can we know? Environmental Science and Technology, 44(6) 1895-1901.
- Samaras C., Meisterling, K., 2008. Life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from plug-in hybrid vehicles: Implications for policy. Environmental Science and Technology. 42(9) 3170-3176.