Carnegie Mellon University

Our Approach

The CMU Industrial Decarbonization Initiative is designed to support an emerging set of activities that draw on one or more of the following four pillars, all of which much be addressed to advance industrial decarbonization:


Technology and Systems
How do we evolve or replace technologies and processes so they do not emit GHGs in an inclusive and sustainable way?


Enabling Infrastructures
How do we design, site, and incentivize the ongoing use of clean power, carbon capture and sequestration, and hydrogen?


Workforce and Community Impacts 
How do we mitigate worker and community impacts and expand opportunities during a clean energy transition?


Organizations, Institutions, and Policy 
What decisions need to be made to encourage action to deploy decarbonizing solutions?

These pillars are tightly interlinked and must be tackled simultaneously to enable meaningful change. Efforts within the initiative may emphasize one pillar, but directly or indirectly connect to all others.

Currently, the Industrial Decarbonization Initiative is developing research in the following areas:

  • Iron and steel
  • Cement
  • Chemicals and plastics
  • Efficiency processes and systems
  • Carbon capture and sequestration
  • Capacity expansion and grid integration of renewable and clean electricity
  • Hydrogen for industry and heavy-duty transportation
  • Low carbon transition material requirements and supply chains
  • Jobs and skills requirements for a low carbon transition
  • Local environmental and community impacts of low carbon transition
  • Organizational and institutional design to support low carbon transition
  • Policy and regulation to support enabling infrastructure
  • Integrated planning for decarbonization of sectors and regions

Why focus on the industrial sector?

The industrial sector, including related power and heat generation, accounts for around 40 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, and its decarbonization involves many technical, societal, and policy challenges. CMU is a pioneer in the type of interdisciplinary, problem-oriented scholarship needed to address the decarbonization challenge, and the University exists amongst key regional and global networks that are positioned to co-develop and demonstrate industrial decarbonization solutions. 

Southwestern Pennsylvania, home to CMU, has every form of fossil energy and a rich and diverse manufacturing ecosystem. Opportunities to demonstrate how industrial decarbonization can proceed with the support and guidance of workers, families, communities, and local businesses abound, but will require an earnest and concerted effort to collectively evolve institutions, organizational processes, and culture to be more just and inclusive than those of past transitions. The CMU Industrial Decarbonization Initiative aims to seize these opportunities.

Interested in partnering with us or learning more? 

For more information about the CMU Decarbonization Initiative, please contact Valerie Karplus ( or Daniel Tkacik ( 

Our People