Global CO2 Initiative offering Independent Study to U-M Undergrads, Grads

Are you a U-M student, concerned about global warming? Do you want a career that will pay you to make a real difference in the fight for sustainability? This is your chance to learn valuable, employable, resume building skills in the exponentially growing field of carbon capture and utilization (CCU).

The US Dept of Energy and the 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have both stated that carbon capture is a necessary tool in the toolkit to address global warming; we simply cannot meet our climate goals without the use of carbon capture. 

The Global CO2 Initiative at the University of Michigan shares this commitment to creating a better, more sustainable environment through carbon capture. We are helping to lead the global charge to use captured carbon dioxide to make products, or CCU.  

Research indicates that CCU is on track to be a trillion dollar industry in the next several decades. Working with dozens of international faculty affiliates as well as industry, technology, and policy partners, we conduct market research, life cycle assessment (LCA) and techno-economic assessments (TEA), expose and describe greenwashing practices, help create consistent and standardized terms, etc.

We are currently seeking students to help with our assessment research, namely in life cycle assessment (LCA) and techno-economic assessment (TEA).  We are offering the opportunity to work as part of our LCA/TEA team for Independent Study credit, supporting our assessment work. Quality LCA/TEA assessments are essential in order to ensure new technologies are delivering actual environmental benefits and are also financially viable.

While you learn how to conduct these assessments, in collaboration with our team of professional PhD researchers, you will also gain a deeper understanding of CCU technologies and terms. You may even have opportunities to network with prominent industry, policy, academic and technology stakeholders.

Previous students who have worked at GCI have gone on to work at the US Department of Energy, Argonne, Twelve, and McKinsey & Co.

This winter semester commitment would be for 3 credits by registering for ME 490 or ME 590. Note that these independent studies are open to non-Mechanical Engineering as well as non-Engineering students. 

Ideally, students would have experience evaluating economic and environmental impacts and/or working on chemical engineering or material science.

There is a possibility of a paid summer internship in 2023.

For inquiries, please email a cover letter, resume, and unofficial transcript to with “Independent Study” in the subject line.

“Working with the GCI opened tons of doors for me. During the summer, I worked on developing cost and carbon emissions models for novel carbon utilization processes. The whole time, I was mentored by and worked alongside a group of experts who are passionate about mitigating the climate crisis and knowledgeable about the techniques we use to assess technology.

The best part of my summer was attending the ICCDU conference which was a gathering of the most innovative researchers in the world working on CCUS projects. It has been a truly inspirational summer.

Furthermore, my experience here has given me excellent qualifications for my future work. I am confident that explaining my role within the GCI on my application to work at Argonne National Lab was a big help in being accepted into the SULI program there.”

~William Townsend, U-M class of 2022

Apply here.