Graham Sustainability Institute

Clean Energy Conversations

Clean Energy Conversations aim to tie together decarbonization research and initiatives across campus by providing regular, organized opportunities for networking and collaboration among and between the U-M research community and external partners.

Researchers from different disciplines, who otherwise would rarely come together, will find in Clean Energy Conversations a space to connect and collaborate on the highly interdisciplinary work of deep decarbonization. Through these networking and working sessions, we seek to catalyze future activities by identifying both gaps in knowledge and areas of cross-campus expertise ripe for proposals, applied research, and learning opportunities.


    Initially, the Clean Energy Conversation Series will be open to U-M faculty and research staff across all three campuses. Later, we anticipate inviting leaders from energy and environmental for- and non-profit organizations in Michigan, as well as some national NGOs. We anticipate holding one or more special session(s) for student researchers.


    Virtual meet-and-greets and working sessions will take place via Zoom from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. ET throughout the 2020-2021 school year. U-M faculty and research staff are invited to join as many sessions as they choose.


    Deep decarbonization will affect all people and aspects of society, and requires action across all sectors of the economy. The electric power system has seen the most progress in reducing its emissions, but efforts must quickly expand to include industry and transportation. U-M has top-tier research expertise in many of the areas critical to solving the decarbonizing challenge.

    Clean Energy Conversation Research Themes

    The following themes reflect input from U-M faculty, researchers and staff regarding future directions for Clean Energy Conversations. We welcome additional input. Contact with ideas or questions.

    • Incorporating new technologies with current infrastructure
    • Equity impacts of decarbonization
    • Identifying policy challenges/gaps/opportunities
    • Public acceptance of technology/decarbonization
    • Connections/links to other systems (health, ecosystem, transportation, etc.)
    • Consideration of localized infrastructure in energy transition
    • Challenges of/importance of scaling -up
    • Considering circular economy in decarbonization
    • Comparison of U.S. to other countries

    Read more about the themes, including examples of research gaps and interdisciplinary questions.

    In addition to Clean Energy Conversations, multiple efforts are underway across the University of Michigan to advance the global transition to a zero-carbon energy future. Some of the ambitious initiatives taking place this fall include the following.

    The President's Commission on Carbon Neutrality is also continuing its work to develop recommendations for U-M to achieve net-zero emissions.