The Michigan Engineer News Center

Brian Ellis awarded Sloan Foundation “net zero” grant

The Alfred P. Sloan grant funds projects furthering technologies that sequester carbon or have zero emissions. | Short Read

A research team led by Assistant Professor Brian Ellis has received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Net-Zero and Negative Emissions Technologies Request for Proposals (RFP). Ellis’s team will research ways in which carbon dioxide can be utilized for geothermal energy production and renewable energy storage.

The RFP received nearly eighty submissions, and Ellis’s team is one of four to be awarded a grant.

Read an excerpt of the project proposal below:

In addition to the pressing need to transition electricity generation to more widespread use of renewables, attention needs to be given to how these low-carbon systems might be integrated with other net zero interventions. While wind and solar power deservedly receive much attention, not only is geothermal energy an attractive alternative to burning fossils fuels, but there are creative ways of integrating geothermal systems with other net zero approaches to create a virtuous cycle of clean power generation and carbon sequestration.

A team at the University of Michigan will address these challenges by examining the potential to pump carbon dioxide underground—which is captured from industrial processes such as coal-fired power generation—in order to enhance renewable geothermal power systems. How might these carbon dioxide streams get pumped into the subsurface? They are sent underground using excess electricity generated by wind or solar installations. These researchers will examine various dimensions of such systems that might allow carbon dioxide to boost renewable energy production while simultaneously being sequestered underground.

This project proposal is republished from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Read more about the grant and the other projects here.

Students in mask walking on campus and a researcher climbing a tree in the Amazon rainforest

This article is included in the Fall 2020 issue of the CEE Review magazine. Visit the issue home page to see other articles.

Jessica Petras


Jessica Petras
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  • Brian R. Ellis

    Brian R. Ellis

    Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

A simulation of the landing .

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