Decarbonizing complex industries and processes

MIT Faculty and Researchers

Mark Goulthorpe (lead), Nicola Ferralis, Jeff Grossman, A. John Hart, Jeremiah Johnson, James E. Kelsey, Randy Kirchain, Christopher Knittel, Richard Roth, Brian Wardle

External Collaborators

Dave Gailus (NanoComp Technologies/Huntsman), Radek Michalik (Composite Design), Gus Bosse (ExxonMobil), Brian Joseph (Touchstone Research), Steve Nolet (TPI Composites), Jaime Marina (Mouldcam), Erik Olsen (Transsolar), Paul Kladitis (University of Dayton Research Institute)

Research summary

Carbon>Building proposes the creation of a fabrication laboratory (Fab Lab) that gathers scientists, engineers, and architects from academia and industry, to accelerate the development of all-carbon buildings. Learning from the brilliant composites sector, we will seek to attain a new lightweight, thin-skin, energy-efficient, benign building paradigm, looking to re-orient the organic legacy (coal, oil, and gas) from primary use as fuel to establishing a carbon ontology. Mindful of the projected doubling of buildings globally by 2050, where human-made mass already exceeds biomass, and where current mineral/metal buildings consume some 40% of total energy production, this seems not only a wise use of these billion-ton commodities, but a vital one. There is no more remarkable material than carbon — structural, electrical, thermal — so we propose exploiting its poly-functionality as an almost sentient second skin. Methane pyrolysis and coal pyrolysis, with the prospect of supplementing hydrogen as a clean fuel, hold great promise.


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