Carnegie Mellon Engineering

Strategic Initiatives: Energy

Energy. This complex topic fundamentally touches each of our lives. We face many complicated challenges to create sustainable, affordable, and safe energy sources for a growing world demand. The College of Engineering and Carnegie Mellon University are already shaping the future of energy technology, education, and policy in the U.S. and around the world, and we continue to expand and enhance our efforts in areas where we believe we can make a meaningful contribution.


Energy Research

Carnegie Mellon and the Pittsburgh region are world leaders in enabling and managing the transition to a sustainable energy future through our commitment to excellence in research and education. This is being achieved in the research realm through our multidisciplinary centers and partnerships with government, corporations, foundations and other universities.

CMU excels at tackling problems at a "systems" level—recognizing explicitly the interconnections among technological, economic, environmental and human factors. Good decisions about whether to use coal-fired plants or wind turbines cannot be made without knowing the market these plants will serve or what the related environmental impacts will be. Success depends on seeing energy as part of a global system.

Carnegie Mellon is among the best in the world at this kind of collaborative thinking. The university is well-suited to enable and guide transitions to a sustainable energy future at both the national and regional levels. We are also committed to activities that can foster that transition in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Faculty and students throughout the College of Engineering and the university are focused on a range of energy-related research endeavors. This research focuses on several interdisciplinary and interconnected action areas, all crucial to solving our energy challenges, and all leveraging existing university strengths. These focus areas are: enabling the transition from fossil fuels to new energy sources; developing a smart electricity grid; designing more efficient energy transmission, storage, and consumption; and creating new materials, processes, and capabilities for energy use.

Learn more about energy research initiatives with our videos about energy research:


Energy@Carnegie Mellon

Over the course of recent decades, a strong and diverse set of educational and research programs in energy science, technology, and policy has been developed at Carnegie Mellon University. Because CMU has a long and well-established tradition of interdisciplinary research, most of these activities have not grown in isolation but have drawn upon faculty and students across a number of departments and colleges. Other universities talk about interdisciplinary research and education—at CMU, it is a way of life.

Through both research and course work, Carnegie Mellon is educating the future leaders who will need to solve our toughest energy challenges. Faculty, students, and alumni alike are participating in the global dialogue and efforts that will shape our energy future.

To learn more about energy initiatives throughout the university visit the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation website.


Investing in Energy Research and Education

The college's success is due in part to its collaborative culture. We work across engineering disciplines to tackle complex technical problems and drive innovation. To ensure that the college remains one of the world's top engineering schools, the university has committed to building a new biomedical engineering, energy, and nanotechnology facility to provide the necessary infrastructure for new discoveries and unparalleled educational opportunities.

Representing a new focal point for the college, the 100,000-square-foot building will house a state-of-the-art nanofabrication facility, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and a new energy institute. An estimated 200 faculty members and students will be based in the building, whose design and location will foster collaboration.

Learn more about the new building and how to support it: