EPA Awards $10M for New Center for Air, Climate and Energy Solutions -Mechanical Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, May 2, 2016

EPA Awards $10M for New Center for Air, Climate and Energy Solutions

Carnegie Mellon University is launching a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research center, funded by a $10 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This Center for Air, Climate and Energy Solutions represents an unprecedented approach to the integrated management of air quality, climate and energy.

The center will measure and map air pollutant concentrations across the country to improve the health of vulnerable populations like children, the elderly and those suffering from cardiac, respiratory and other medical conditions. It will develop air quality assessment tools to help average citizens and policymakers alike understand which regions and neighborhoods hold the most health risk.  

“Issues like shale gas development, electric car subsidies and power plants of the future are interconnected issues that require integrated thinking,” said Allen Robinson, the new center’s director and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “When you consider that air pollution is the 4th leading cause of death globally, an innovative approach to addressing pollution and climate change challenges is critical.”

One goal of the center is to develop an app that will recommend the route to take for a bike ride or morning jog based on real-time air quality measurements that compare one route to another.

Another goal will address the urban development of future cities as their electricity and transportation needs evolve. According to Robinson, public policy will need to evolve, also. “Policymakers need to understand how future changes in cities, transportation and industry impact air quality and public health. Ideally, this knowledge will lead to the creation of smarter cities,” he said.

“This grant from the EPA recognizes the College of Engineering for its leadership in multidisciplinary and adaptive problem solving,” said James Garrett, dean of the College of Engineering. “The new center is excellent progress toward our strategic goal to bring more research centers into the university and it leverages our strengths in engineering to improve the quality of life for people and ensure the well-being of our planet.”

Carnegie Mellon’s College of Engineering has 10 faculty members who will collaborate with experts from seven other participating institutions across North America. In addition to Robinson, other project leaders include: Peter Adams, professor of civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy; Spyros Pandis, research professor of chemical engineering; and Albert Presto, assistant research professor of mechanical engineering.

Lisa Kulick

Read the EPA Press Release