The Global CO2 Initiative: Transforming a liability into an opportunity
Michigan Engineering has set its sights on enhancing its culture of creativity, innovation and daring through its Blue Sky Initiative funding model.
Introduced in late 2017, the Blue Sky Initiative supports transformational concepts – high-risk, high-reward ideas. Selected research teams will progress through a series of defined milestones to consistently assess the development of their concepts. The initiative will give teams the resources to aggressively pursue an idea to either reinforce or define Michigan’s leadership position in a wide range of areas. The College of Engineering will invest up to $2.5 million in each of the Blue Sky projects over approximately three years.
Global CO2 Initiative
Even if CO2 emissions are curbed today, it will be impossible to reach Paris Agreement climate goals unless ways to remove carbon dioxide from the environment are developed. The Global CO2 Initiative at U-M will identify and pursue commercially sustainable approaches that have the potential to reduce global CO2 emissions by as much as 10 percent per year.
Researchers aim to develop and evaluate technologies that can remove carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into useful products. They will also cultivate an infrastructure of technology assessment, development, and commercialization. The research team expects cement, concrete and asphalt to be the greatest opportunity for the Global CO2 Initiative, since huge volumes of construction materials are needed and they bind well with carbon dioxide. Fuels, polymers, agriculture, food and new materials such as carbon fiber can also take advantage of transformed CO2.
Researchers and market analysts anticipate the carbon-negative, dollar-positive approach can generate billions of dollars of economic activity in the decades to come. In addition to being commercially sustainable, the research will also serve the common good by combating climate change while simultaneously creating sustainable economic opportunities, leveraging diverse funding streams from public and private sources and expanding the initiative beyond the University of Michigan.