Carnegie Mellon University

Haibo Zhai

Haibo Zhai

Associate Research Professor, Engineering and Public Policy

Address Department of Engineering and Public Policy
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


  • Associate Research Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, 2017-present
  • Assistant Research Professor, Carnegie Mellon University 2012-2017
  • Project Manager, Carnegie Mellon University, 2010- present
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University, 2008-2010
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, North Carolina State University, 2008
Dr. Haibo Zhai earned his PhD degree at NC State and did his postdoctoral fellowship research at CMU. As Project Manager in the department, Dr. Zhai plays a leading role in fostering the development of the Integrated Environmental Control Model (IECM: developed by Carnegie Mellon for U.S. DoE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. Dr. Zhai is an appointed member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB)’s Standing Committee on Transportation and Air Quality, and was one of the co-chairs of the Committee Paper Review for annual TRB meetings.


  • Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, 2008, North Carolina State University
  • M.S. in Environmental Engineering, 2002, Tongji University
  • B.S. in Water Supply and Drainage Engineering, 1999, Xi’an University of Technology


Dr. Zhai's research interests are in the areas of energy and environmental systems with a focus on mitigating traditional air pollutants and greenhouse gases emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants and transportation systems. His research involves a combination of engineering system modeling with economics, risk analysis, and policy analysis. His current activities mainly lie in engineering-economic modeling and analysis of electric power systems and advanced carbon capture technologies; and energy-water nexus, especially under carbon constraints for climate change mitigation.

Journal Publications

  1. Craig, M., P. Jaramillo, H. Zhai, and K. Klima, "The Economic Merits of Flexible Carbon Capture and Sequestration as a Compliance Strategy with the Clean Power Plan", Environmental Science & Technology, 2017, 51(3):1102–1109.
  2. Talati, S., H. Zhai, and M.G. Morgan, "Viability of Carbon Capture and Sequestration Retrofits for Existing Coal-fired Power Plants under an Emission Trading Scheme",  Environmental Science & Technology, 2016, 50 (23):12567–12574.
  3. Talati, S., H. Zhai, P. Kyle, M.G. Morgan, P. Patel, and L. Liu, Consumptive Water Use from Electricity Generation in the Southwest under Alternative Climate, Technology and Policy Futures", Environmental Science & Technology, 2016, 50(22):12095–12104.
  4. Zhai, H. and E. S. Rubin, "A Techno-Economic Assessment of Hybrid Cooling Systems for Coal- and Natural-Gas-fired Power Plants with and without Carbon Capture and Storage",  Environmental Science & Technology, 2016, 50(7): 4127-4134.
  5. Loew, A., P. Jaramillo, and H. Zhai, "Marginal Costs of Water Savings from Cooling System Retrofits: A Case Study for Texas Power Plants", Environmental Research Letters, 2016, 11(10):104004.
  6. Roussanaly, S., R. Anantharaman, K. Lindqvist, H. Zhai, and E. S. Rubin, "Membrane Properties Required for Post-combustion CO2 Capture at Coal-fired Power Plants", Journal of Membrane Science, 2016, 511: 250-264.
  7. Ou, Y., H. Zhai, and E. S. Rubin, "Life Cycle Water Use of Coal- and Natural-Gas-Fired Power Plants with and without Carbon Capture and Storage", International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2016, 44: 249-261.
  8. Zhai, H., Y. Ou, and E.S. Rubin, "Opportunities for Decarbonizing Existing U.S. Coal-fired Power Plants via CO2 Capture, Utilization and Storage", Environmental Science & Technology, 2015, 49 (13): 7571–7579.
  9. Zhai, H.and E. S. Rubin, Water Impacts of a Low-Carbon Electric Power Future: Assessment Methodology and Status”, Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, 2015, 2(1):1-9.
  10. Khalilpour, R., K. Mumford, H. Zhai, A. Abbas, G. Stevens, and E.S. Rubin, “Membrane-based Carbon Capture from Flue Gas: a Review”, Journal of Cleaner Production, 2015, 103:286-300.
  11. Talati, S., H. Zhai, and M.G. Morgan, Water Impacts of CO2 Emission Performance Standards for Fossil Fuel-fired Power Plants”, Environmental Science & Technology, 2014, 48(20):11769-11776.
  12. Zhai, H.and E.S. Rubin, “Techno-Economic Assessment of Polymer Membrane Systems for Postcombustion Carbon Capture at Coal-Fired Power Plants”, Environmental Science & Technology, 2013, 47(6):3006–3014.
  13. Zhai, H.and E.S. Rubin, “Comparative Performance and Cost Assessments of Coal- and Natural Gas-fired Power Plants under a CO2 Emission Performance Standard Regulation”, Energy & Fuels, 2013, 27(8):4290–4301.
  14. Rubin, E.S. and H. Zhai, “The Cost of Carbon Capture and Storage for Natural Gas Combined Cycle Power Plants”, Environmental Science & Technology, 2012, 46(6):3076–3084.
  15. Zhai, H., E.S. Rubin and P. L. Versteeg, “Water Use at Pulverized Coal Power Plants with Postcombustion Carbon Capture and Storage”, Environmental Science & Technology, 2011, 45(6):2479–2485.
  16. Zhai, H., H.C. Frey and N.M. Rouphail, “Development of A Modal Emissions Model for A Hybrid Electric Vehicle”, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 2011, 16(6):444–450.
  17. Zhai, H.and E.S. Rubin, “Performance and Cost of Wet and Dry Cooling Systems for Pulverized Coal Power Plants with and without Carbon Capture and Storage”, Energy Policy, 2010, 38(10):5653–5660.
  18. Frey, H.C., H. Zhai and N.M. Rouphail, “Regional On-Road Vehicle Running Emissions Modeling and Evaluation for Conventional and Alternative Vehicle Technologies”, Environmental Science & Technology, 2009, 43(21):8449–8455.
  19. Zhai, H., H.C. Frey, N.M. Rouphail, T.L. Farias and G. A. Gonçalves, “Comparison of Flexible Fuel Vehicle and Life Cycle Fuel Consumption and Emissions of Selected Pollutants and Greenhouse Gases for Ethanol85 versus Gasoline”, Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 2009, 59:912–924.
  20. Coelho, M.C., H.C. Frey, N.M Rouphail, H. Zhai and L. Pelkmans, “Assessing Methods for Comparing Emissions from Gasoline and Diesel Light-Duty Vehicles Based on Microscale Measurements”, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 2009, 14(2):91–99.
  21. Zhai, H., H.C. Frey and N.M. Rouphail, “A Vehicle Specific Power Approach to Speed- and Facility- Specific Emissions Estimates for Diesel Transit Buses”, Environmental Science & Technology, 2008, 42(21):7985–7991.
  22. Frey, H.C., N.M. Rouphail and H. Zhai, “Link-Based Emission Factors for Heavy-Duty Diesel Trucks Based on Real-World Data”, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2008, 2058:23–32.
  23. Frey, H.C., N.M. Rouphail, H. Zhai, T.L. Farias, and G. A. Gonçalves, “Comparing Real-World Fuel Consumption for Diesel- and Hydrogen-Fueled Transit Buses and Implication for Emissions”, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 2007, 12(4):281–291.
  24. Frey, H.C., N.M. Rouphail and H. Zhai, “Speed- and Facility-Specific Emission Estimates for On-Road Light-Duty Vehicles on the Basis of Real-World Speed Profiles”, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2006, 1987:128–137

Research Interests

Techno-economic modeling and analysis of fossil fuel-fired power generation systems and associated air pollution control technologies; carbon capture technologies; energy-water nexus; transportation and air quality.