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focus area Energy, sustainability and the environment

Photo of Professor Thatcher Root and graduate student Elise Gilcher

Professor Thatcher Root and graduate student Elise Gilcher are developing new catalysts that could make renewable energy generation more cost-effective and efficient. Photo: Sam Million-Weaver.

Working at a critical intersection

The world’s climate is at a tipping point and as a society, we need solutions that enable us to reduce our carbon footprint, explore energy generation and storage in innovative ways, preserve our scarce resources, and protect our global water supply. Addressing these challenges requires revolutionary advances in clean and renewable power and energy storage systems, technologies that allow us to create bio-renewable chemicals and products, and new tools for detecting and removing harmful substances from our natural and built environment.

We’re engineering the future through:

  • New and advanced technologies for generating, converting, distributing, storing and using energy efficiently and sustainably
  • Novel approaches to sustainably constructing, managing and using resources in our natural and built environment
  • Innovations in new, sustainable materials and chemicals and processes for breaking down toxic substances

What we are specifically focusing on

Catalysis and reaction engineering

Sustainable chemical production

Energy utilization, conversion and storage; Advanced power generation

Low-net-carbon transportation and mobile power systems

Energy systems

Optimization and control

Fission reactor design and deployment

Fusion science and technology

Renewable energy from wind and water

Environmental chemistry and technology

Environmental engineering and science

Geological engineering

Water resource engineering

Engineering research news

We are known for world-changing discoveries, and we collaborate with each other, with colleagues across the globe, and with industry and government partners to develop solutions to the challenging problems not only of today, but of the future. Dig into our latest research news and endeavors!