Since its inception in late 2006, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) has become MIT’s hub for energy research, education, and outreach. Through these three pillars, MITEI plays a catalytic role in accelerating responses to the many challenges facing our global energy system. MITEI’s mission is to develop low- and no-carbon solutions to efficiently, affordably, and sustainably meet global energy needs while minimizing environmental impacts, dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigating climate change.
To advance this mission, MITEI brings together researchers from across the Institute and facilitates collaborations with industry and government. MITEI and its member companies and organizations support hundreds of research projects across the Institute, including those awarded through the MITEI Seed Fund Program for innovative early-stage energy research projects.
As a vital component of MIT’s Climate Action Plan for the Decade and MITEI’s research program, the Future Energy Systems Center presents opportunities for faculty, students, industry, and government to advance research and development in key technology areas and energy subsector systems for curbing climate change. Through the Center, researchers conduct integrated analysis of the energy system, providing insights into the complex multisectoral transformations that will alter the power and transportation systems, industry, and built environment. The Future Energy Systems Center continues the technoeconomic and systems-oriented research previously under MITEI’s Low-Carbon Energy Centers.
The Initiative also delivers comprehensive analyses for thought leaders, policy makers, and regulators, such as the “Future of” series of reports. The most recent, The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World, was published in September 2018 with the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department. A new study, The Future of Storage, is now underway and focuses on the role of energy storage in making electricity systems cleaner, more efficient, and more affordable. Another series of reports examines rapidly changing segments of the energy sector; the 2019 Insights into Future Mobility report, the product of the multi-year Mobility of the Future study, explores scenarios for carbon reductions within the personal mobility segment of the transportation sector. The other report in this series, Utility of the Future (2016) provides guidance to policy makers, regulators, and industry on emerging issues in the electric power sector, using a neutral framework within which to evaluate the economic, regulatory, and technological impacts of the ongoing evolution of the power sector worldwide.
MITEI leads Institute energy education efforts and has engaged thousands of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students, incorporating bringing current research developments and results into teaching and facilitating applied learning experiences for students through sponsored research opportunities and other programs. These programs and experiences prepare the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and policy makers to collaborate on solutions to global energy challenges. Learning opportunities include the Energy Studies Minor, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program in energy, short modules during the Independent Activities Period, an energy-focused first-year pre-orientation program, the graduate Society of Energy Fellows, and a new series of online energy classes to reach a global audience. Faculty associated with MITEI help shape energy education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels by teaching, advising, and developing new curricula.
MITEI’s Tata Center for Technology and Design has provided extensive support to Master’s and PhD students through fellowships sponsored by the Tata Trusts. Tata Fellows have worked throughout India, as well as in Nepal, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela, traveling at least twice a year to immerse themselves in the social, political, and economic aspects of their research in the developing world. Their experiences abroad inform their ongoing research with the goal of catalyzing positive social impact in the form of policy support and affordable products and services. Through support for these students, and through thoughtfully crafted research projects in the fields of energy, water, environment, housing, health, and agriculture, the Tata Center advances its mission of bringing technical talent and experience to bear on the challenges of the developing world.
MITEI’s outreach efforts foster dialogue within the research community; across the academic, industry, and government sectors; and provide the public with context on current energy issues. In addition to informing public policy through research reports, MITEI facilitates this exchange of information by hosting and sponsoring events on campus and by supporting faculty and staff participation in external events. The MITEI communications team also highlights the work of the MIT energy community across print and digital platforms, such as Energy Futures magazine, MITEI’s website, podcasts, and social media, as well as through media outreach.
Robert C. Armstrong is MITEI’s director and the Chevron Professor of Chemical Engineering. A member of the MIT faculty since 1973, Armstrong served as head of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1996 to 2007 and has directed MITEI since 2013, after serving as the organization’s deputy director from 2007-2013 with founding director Ernest Moniz. His research is focused on pathways to a low-carbon energy future.
Armstrong has been elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2020) and the National Academy of Engineering (2008). He received the 2020 AIChE Founders’ Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Chemical Engineering in honor of his landmark contributions to chemical engineering research and education, and for leadership in advancing the transition to a low-carbon future and addressing climate change. He has also been awarded AIChE’s Warren K. Lewis Award (2006), and the Professional Progress Award (1992). He is the recipient of the 2006 Bingham Medal from the Society of Rheology, which is devoted to the study of the science of deformation and flow of matter.
Armstrong was a member of MIT’s Future of Natural Gas and Future of Solar Energy study groups. He advised the teams that developed MITEI’s most recent reports, The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World (2018) and Insights into Future Mobility (2019), and is co-chairing the new MITEI study, The Future of Storage. He co-edited Game Changers: Energy on the Move with former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz.
Martha Broad is MITEI’s executive director. As part of the leadership team, she works to link science, innovation and policy to transform the world’s energy systems. She has a track record of successfully partnering with business, government and nonprofit stakeholders to support the clean energy transition. At MITEI, she works closely with member companies who collaborate with MIT researchers on a spectrum of topics, including the Future Energy Systems Center.
In addition, she spearheads MITEI’s collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy to design, manage, and host the annual Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Women in Clean Energy Symposium and serves as a C3E Ambassador.
Previously, as part of the senior management team of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), Broad led programs and studies that focused on the commercialization of clean energy technologies. By collaborating with universities and public and private partners, she helped facilitate the state’s successful installation of hundreds of megawatts of wind and solar systems.
Louis Carranza was previously vice president for strategic development at IHS, where he worked for 17 years. There, he served as executive director and co-chair of CERAWeek—one of the top five corporate leader conferences in the world—and conceived and implemented the CERAWeek partnership program. He was also co-director of the IHS scenario planning initiative. Earlier at CERA, Carranza was responsible for managing the firm’s global power practice.
Christopher Knittel is the George P. Shultz Professor of Energy Economics in the Sloan School of Management MIT. He is also the director of MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, which has served as the hub for social science research on energy and the environmental since the late 1970s. Knittel is also the deputy director for policy at MITEI and a co-director of The E2e Project, a research initiative between MIT, UC Berkeley, and the University of Chicago, to undertake rigorous evaluation of energy efficiency investments. He joined the faculty at MIT in 2011, having taught previously at UC Davis and Boston University. At MIT, he teaches Energy Economics and Policy to undergraduates, MBA students, and graduate students from outside of the Sloan School of Management.
Antje Danielson joined MITEI after eight years at Tufts University, where she directed the Tufts Institute of the Environment and was an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health. Her areas of interest are energy education and carbon capture and storage. She is also interested in research on conditions that underpin interdisciplinary research and collaborations.
Her previous roles include deputy director for sustainability at the Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems at Durham University in the UK, where she initiated a carbon capture and storage working group. Danielson is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council for Science and the Environment and has also served as President of the Council for Environmental Deans and Directors. She received teaching awards from Harvard University and an Exceptional Contribution Award from Durham University. In 1999/2000 she co-founded the car-sharing company Zipcar.
Antje holds a PhD in geochemistry from the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany.
Tom Melville joined MITEI as communications director in April, 2021. Before joining MITEI, he spent nine years at Boston’s NPR news station, WBUR, leading the largest public radio station newsroom in the United States. He directed reporting teams covering politics, the environment, healthcare, education, the arts, business/innovation/technology and investigations. He joined WBUR as executive editor of content in 2011, was promoted to news director in 2013 and to executive news director in 2015. Before joining WBUR, he was news director at the nation’s largest regional news channel, New England Cable News (NECN). At NECN, Melville rose through the ranks from reporter to executive producer and to assistant news director before being named news director in 2008. He was executive producer and co-writer of an NECN documentary film on hospice care, “Look for Me Here: 299 days in the life of Nora Lenihan,” which won more than a dozen regional, national and international awards, including the George Foster Peabody Award.
He began reporting the news at a radio station in his native Newton, Massachusetts when he was 16 years old. He covered sports at the Boston Herald-American while an undergraduate at Boston University. He served in the United States Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, teaching vegetable gardening in the public schools in the town of El Valle. He is a graduate of Boston College Law School and holds a law license in Massachusetts.
Early in his career, Melville was a news reporter covering small town government at radio stations in New Hampshire. He covered agriculture and was weekend anchor at the ABC television station in Sioux City, Iowa. He was an anchor, reporter, producer and news director at the NBC television station in White River Junction, Vermont. He covered consumer news and the courts for the NBC television station in West Palm Beach, Florida. He then moved home to Boston to become chief political reporter for NECN.
Melville was also a consultant with the Boston-area media relations firm eMedia Junction, advising nonprofit and for-profit organizations on communications strategy, media training, content creation, storytelling, and crisis communications.
Robert Stoner is the deputy director for science and technology at MITEI and founding director of the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design. He is currently a member of the MIT Energy Council, the Science and Technology Committee of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the Technical Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of Science, Technology, and Energy Policy. He is also a member of the Rockefeller Foundation-funded Global Commission to End Energy Poverty, and serves as its secretary.
Stoner is the inventor of numerous computational and ultrafast optical measurement techniques, and has built and managed successful technology firms in the semiconductor, IT, and optics industries. From 2007 through 2009, he lived and worked in Africa and India while serving in a variety of senior roles within the Clinton Foundation, including as the CEO of the Clinton Development Initiative, and director of the Clinton Climate Initiative for Africa. His present research at MIT focuses on energy storage technology and policy, and the design and optimization of energy systems and business models in the developing world. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Queen’s University and PhD from Brown University in condensed matter physics.
Robert Tolu has worked for 17 years in finance and previously sponsored award administration for Harvard University and Education Development Center. At MITEI, he serves as senior fiscal officer and is responsible for overseeing all financial matters, pre- and post-award, to ensure smooth operations and minimal surprises. Robert’s extensive experience includes work with the federal government, industry, and foundation funders.
Former Managing Director, BlackRock
Norm Augustine (Chair)
Retired Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin
Former President, Natural Resources Defense Council
Arunas A. Chesonis
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sweetwater Energy
Rafael del Pino
Chairman, Grupo Ferrovial SA
Institute Professor and Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, MIT
Chairman Emeritus, Eisenhower Institute
President Emerita and Professor of Neuroscience, MIT
Robert B. Millard
Chairman Emeritus, MIT Corporation
Ernest J. Moniz
Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics & Engineering Systems Emeritus, MIT
Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nuclear Threat Initiative
John S. Reed
Chairman Emeritus, MIT Corporation
Chairman and Managing Director, Haci Omer Sabanci Holding AS
Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Shell Global Solutions International BV
Philip R. Sharp
Retired President, Resources for the Future
Robert M. Solow
Institute Professor Emeritus, MIT
Vice President for Research and Development, ExxonMobil Corporation
Ratan N. Tata
Chairman, Tata Sons Limited
Distinguished University Professor, Department of Physics, University of Maryland
Vice Chairman, IHS Markit
Director Technology, R&D & Digital, Eni S.p.A.
MITEI is affiliated with faculty members in a number of MIT centers, departments, and laboratories pursuing interdisciplinary energy and environmental activities. MITEI supports the financial administration of certain projects and collaborates on research and education activities with these organizations.
Affiliated faculty and research staff as well as international research associates contribute to empirical research on policy issues related to coal, oil, gas, and electricity markets; nuclear power; mobility; energy infrastructure; investment finance and risk management; and environmental and carbon constraints. CEEPR cooperates closely with associates in government and industry across the globe to enhance the relevance of its research.
CEEPR produces working papers, policy briefs, and research input to larger, interdisciplinary studies; hosts two annual research workshops in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and hosts an international energy policy conference organized jointly with the Energy Policy Research Group at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. CEEPR is also involved in a number of collaborative research projects.
The E2e Project is a joint initiative founded by Professor Christopher Knittel, Professor Michael Greenstone (formerly at MIT, now at the University of Chicago), and Professor Catherine Wolfram of the University of California, Berkeley, to leverage cutting-edge scientific and economic insights on the causes of the persistent energy-efficiency gap. E2e focuses these talents on solving one of the most perplexing energy questions today and communicating those findings to policy makers and the public. E2e’s research generates rigorous and accurate evaluations of energy-efficiency technologies and programs using state-of-the-art empirical methodologies.
The Roosevelt Project takes a multidisciplinary approach to examine the transitional challenges associated with progress toward a deeply decarbonized U.S. economy. The project aims to chart a path forward through the transition that minimizes worker and community dislocations and enables at-risk communities to sustain employment levels by taking advantage of the economic opportunities present for regional economic development. The first phase of the project involves an assessment of cross-cutting topics related to the transition. The second phase of the project involves developing regional action plans for individual case studies, working with local partners on the ground in specific transition contexts. The project was initiated by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz and engages a breadth of MIT and Harvard faculty and researchers across academic domains including economics, engineering, sociology, urban studies and planning, and political science.
To achieve its mission—advancing a sustainable, prosperous world through scientific analysis of the complex interactions among co-evolving, interconnected global systems—the Joint Program:
Building on the twin pillars of science and policy, the Joint Program was founded in 1991 as a joint effort of two distinct groups: the MIT Center for Global Change Science and the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
MITEI staff and faculty affiliates collaborate with the Office of Sustainability through initiatives such as the Campus Sustainability Task Force, living lab projects, and the MIT Climate Action Advisory Committee.
The scope of the world’s energy problems calls for a comprehensive portfolio of responses to environmental, economic, scientific, security, and political issues. Under the MIT Energy Initiative, MIT researchers are hard at work on this portfolio, addressing alleviating immediate shortage, security, and environmental concerns.
MIT is a 501(c)(3) institution, and your gift is tax-deductible within the limitations of U.S. federal income tax laws. The Institute’s tax identification number is 04-2103594.
MIT Human Resources maintains a list of open positions at the Energy Initiative, and is the primary contact for all applications and questions.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. Read the full nondiscrimination policy.
I’m a journalist. How can I get in touch with an MIT energy researcher?
Contact MITEI Communications.
How can I learn about becoming a member?
Contact MITEI Member Services.
How can I learn about energy education?
Contact MITEI Education.
Where can I view recordings of MITEI events, seminars and other talks online?
If a MITEI event, seminar, or other talk is being recorded, you can find the video by visiting the MITEI YouTube channel. Please note that not all MITEI events, seminars and talks are recorded, but that the YouTube channel is the most up-to-date source of MITEI video recordings.
I’m a non-MIT student/researcher who would like to work with MIT faculty on energy issues. Are there opportunities available for internships and jobs?
MIT faculty work on a very wide range of energy research topics, and the best way to figure out whether there could be opportunities is to research specific departments and faculty members, and inquire through those channels. You can learn more about faculty members affiliated with MITEI here. MIT Human Resources maintains a list of open positions at the Energy Initiative, and is the primary contact for all applications and questions. Please note, MITEI does not offer internships to international students.
I’m a researcher at another academic institution. How can I get in contact with MITEI about an energy-related topic?
If you would like to reach MITEI regarding an energy-related topic such as an invention or research project, please send us more information about your proposal.
I’m an inventor. How do I get in touch with someone at MITEI about my energy-related invention?
We receive many inquiries about inventions, and unfortunately MITEI researchers are unable to review these proposals.
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