Clean Coal Expertise

Clean Coal Expertise

Ed Rubin

Is clean coal an oxymoron or a path to sustainability?

Hear an expert opinion from Ed Rubin, co-founder of Carnegie Mellon University's Engineering and Public Policy Department and co-recipient of a Nobel Prize.

Rubin is one of more than 100 professors and researchers across campus who work together to solve the world's toughest energy challenges through CMU's Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

"At the technology level we try to understand what the options are for delivering energy in a form that is both affordable and reliable but also environmentally acceptable," Rubin explained.

"We look at various technologies to address environmental issues. We look at their economic and other impacts. We look at uncertainty in markets and in technology performance, and from that we try to distill and identify the most productive paths to getting this ideal situation of energy that is clean, reliable and affordable."

The Scott Institute supports teams of CMU engineers, scientists, economists, architects, policy specialists and others to tackle various issues. Among them:

  • developing cleaner, more efficient energy solutions while reducing carbon emissions;
  • using smart grid technology to enable the use of large amounts of variable wind and solar power; and
  • new advanced materials and processes to produce and store energy, increase efficiency and reduce waste.

Much of the work Rubin and his colleagues are doing is having an impact not only across the country but around the world.

"One of those impacts is in the use of software we've developed to do analysis of complex energy systems like electric power plants," said Rubin. "We have a tool that thousands of people are using to analyze options for delivering electricity that is affordable but also environmentally acceptable in the context of their own particular situation."

He added, "Of course, we ourselves use those tools to try to develop insights and make recommendations. The tools help us to advise companies and governments and non-governmental organizations on the best paths to pursue for deploying technology that is reliable and affordable but also environmentally clean and acceptable."

Rubin is a professor of Environmental Engineering  and Science, Engineering and Public Policy and Mechanical Engineering.


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