Newsletter Features

Each issue of the Global CO2 Initiative bi-weekly newsletter features important stakeholders in the carbon capture and utilization field. These stakeholders may be leaders in industry, academia, policy, non-profit organizations, etc. or they may be cutting edge companies and organizations.

To see a previous feature story, you can scroll through the list below to find a particular name or you can use the search feature.

Aaron Fitzgerald & Kristian Gubsch of Mars Materials
“At Mars, we work really hard. I think everyone is willing to put in the hard work because we all embody those same shared values and have absolute respect for each other. To me that’s success.” 

Aaron Fitzgerald is a carbon removal entrepreneur. He uses his experience as a three-time founder, Prime Coalition Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) and former Carbon180 EIR–along with other experiences ranging from politics to product management–to chip away at his ambitious gigaton-scale carbon removal goals.

Kristian Gubsch is an Ernest F. Hollings Scholar, Barry Goldwater Scholar, and Marshall Scholar. He has a BS in chemical engineering from Washington State University and MSc in Energy and Environmental Engineering from the University of Sheffield
Amir Kelifa
“…it’s also important for people to understand and engage with research in a way that is familiar and makes sense to them. If research is presented in a way that is relevant to their own culture and conveyed in terms of their own language, it’s just more engaging to people.”

Amir Kelifa, former Global CO2 Initiative (GCI) research intern, co-founder of Think Africa Research and Innovation Center (TARiC) and recent graduate of the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (Mechanical Engineering BA).
Anna Douglas
SkyNano’s product is highly valuable and is economically feasible out of the gate without the need for a carbon tax or reduced electricity pricing, which is a common requirement we see in other CO2 storage and utilization technologies. We see this as an important distinction, because our pathway to scaling is based on a free market response, rather than policy changes.” 

Dr. Anna Douglas, is the Co-Founder of SkyNano LLC, a clean energy start-up which focuses on the scalable production of high-value functional materials using greenhouse gasses as chemical inputs. She earned her PhD in Interdisciplinary Materials Science from Vanderbilt University, but has also spent time with Innovation Crossroads, the National Science Foundation, and NASA Glenn Research Center.
Anne Shim
“The problems our planet is facing are unprecedented. Many people are already experiencing the symptoms of more erratic weather. I do believe that no nation, and no single group of nations, can change the path our planet is on. It will take all of us coming together. ” 

Dr. Anne Shim, former Head of Advanced Materials and Systems Research, NA, at BASF. received her PhD in Polymer Science from the University of Akron, Ohio. She also holds a Masters in Polymer Science from the University of Akron and a Masters of Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark.
Arno Zimmermann 
“The fact that it’s not easy actually motivates me–we have to reinvent all these things which have already been invented. From an engineering perspective, this is a really cool opportunity. Before it was more about optimizing, i.e., making things cost less or work better. But now, it’s really about fundamentally changing things and doing so quickly. “

Spark e-Fuels Co-Founder, Dr. Arno Zimmermann, is passionate about creating cleantech products. He has been working on sustainable chemistry, and energy technology products for global corporations, start-ups and academia. He earned his engineering PhD from Technische Universität Berlin, where he analyzed the techno-economics of using COas a resource. Zimmermann co-founded three sustainability start-ups and was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30. In his spare time he DJs, produces techno house music, and organizes electronic music events around Berlin.

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Aryandokht Azari
“Once I set my mind to a goal, I go after it and make it happen. I have learned to never give up, and to always find a way to turn challenges into opportunities.” 

Dr. Aryandokht Azari, Research Fellow at the Global CO2 Initiative (GCI), is a civil/environmental engineer who researches technology readiness level (TRL) of carbon capture and utilization technologies and life cycle assessment of products. An experienced teacher and acclaimed researcher and author, she earned her PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Tehran.

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Bernard David
“…(A)t this point in time, it is action which is what matters—at an accelerated pace—to both innovate and then, in turn, widely deploy solutions at scale. Inherent in this broad deployment is the need for an economic return since governments can’t and won’t shoulder the entire burden of fixing things.”

This very special end-of-year issue of the newsletter features Bernard J. David, entrepreneur, educator, author, Global CO2 Initiative founder and Advisory Board.

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Brent Constantz
“There is enormous procurement power that is not really being used very well. If governments specified buying carbon sequestered materials, they could use the same dollars they’re using now and have some sustainability progress to show for it.”

A serial entrepreneur with expertise in biomineralization, Dr. Constantz led three medical device companies to advance mineralization technologies for orthopedic bone cements and cardiovascular calcification. He later founded Blue Planet to address global climate concerns with aspirations to permanently sequester gigaton quantities of carbon dioxide in the form of carbonate materials. He holds an Earth Sciences PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is an avid outdoorsman and scuba diver.

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Chris Hewitt
“With the GCI Advisory Board, we have a whole bunch of amazing experts who actually listen to each other. There’s real power in that.”

~Chris Hewitt, Senior Manager Public Funding at BASF, Global CO2 Initiative Advisory Board Member

With over 35 years of experience in commercial management, Research and Development (R&D), marketing and technology development, Chris leads BASF’s engagement with internal and external stakeholders in North America to support publicly funded partnerships for technology development, translation and investment, largely in pursuit of BASF’s commitments to achieving a net zero carbon footprint. He earned a PhD in chemistry from Durham University in the United Kingdom and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Christophe Mangin
“Understanding economic and environmental impacts in conjunction with the technology risks at an early stage of the research allows one to save time and resources, since technology path options can be prioritized and potentially de-selected early on.” 

Dr. Christophe Mangin, Program Manager for Business Development, Global CO2 Initiative, leads the global Technical Economic Analysis (TEA) and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) activities within the Global COInitiative. He is fluent in three languages and holds an interdisciplinary PhD in engineering and business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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Founded in 2009, Swiss company Climeworks is the world’s leading direct air capture company and provides a solution that empowers everyone to be climate positive by removing carbon dioxide from the air. Although they work in both CO2 sequestration and utilization, Climeworks’ technology and innovations have been particularly instrumental in paving the way for carbon dioxide utilization all over the world.

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Célia Julia Sapart
 Dr. Célia Julia SapartClimate Scientist, Director Communications and Climate Science at CO2 Value Europe.

Dr. Sapart is a Swiss climate scientist, and a specialist in greenhouse gas emissions and historical climate reconstructions. After 13 years of academic climate research, including several long expeditions to polar regions and more than 25 scientific publications, she is now engaged at the front line of the climate action as the Director Communications and Climate Science at CO2 Value Europe. The multi-talented Dr. Sapart has also written an interactive children’s book to raise awareness on solutions to mitigate climate change: “Sol au Pôle Nord” and starred in a play based on the book.

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Dahl Winters
“There are always obstacles, but I just keep going. You can’t let obstacles get in your way, because as soon as you do, you’ve basically lost the game.”

Dahl Winters, CEO at TerraNexum – Quantum for Climate Progres, has formal training in biology, ecology, and systems engineering, but is self-taught in physics, geospatial analysis, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, quantum vacuum, quantum gravity, Bjerknes forces, acoustic radiation force, acoustic metamaterials. In her spare time, she is also an artist and a member of the OpenAir Collective.

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Daniela Tapia Pitzzu
“By locking hope into the actions we take and the decisions we make to consciously protect this planet, we cannot fall into despair. We are already moving in the right direction, no matter how slow.”

~Daniela Tapia Pitzzu, a former research assistant at the Global CO2 Initiative, who recently graduated from University of Michigan 
Dick Greeley
Dick Greeley is the Associate Director of Licensing, U-M Office of Technology Transfer and the creator of the GCI’s CCU Activity Hub. Dick has over 30 years of experience in high technology, formerly serving as a Director of Licensing for Microsoft, a Director of Technology Business Development and a Director of Strategic Planning and Investing at Hewlett-Packard. Among other start-ups, he founded Career Map

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Dr. Simone H. Stewart 
 “Extending existing frameworks that are inherently limiting, to include people they were not originally meant to include is incredibly difficult, but the end goal is what motivates me and seems so rewarding.”

Simone is a Senior Industrial Policy Specialist in Climate & Energy Policy at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Global CO2 Initiative (GCI) Advisory Board Member. She works at the intersection of carbon management (including carbon capture and carbon removal), energy/environmental justice, and policy. She holds a Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering) from the University of California Santa Barbara and two B.A.’s (Physics and Spanish Language & Literature) from William Jewell College. Two of her many awards include being named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and Dixon-Levy Graduate Student Association Service awardee which she received for her work on campus supporting BIPOC graduates in STEM fields. For two years Simone also worked as a Graduate Assistant at the UCSB Blum Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Democracy.
Emily Connor
“I am always encouraged by the energy, enthusiasm, and creativity I see from those working on climate and energy challenges. It gives me confidence and hope knowing there is a very motivated community of people who have dedicated their careers to these questions…”

~  Emily Connor, Program Manager for carbon dioxide removal and conversion projects with the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management.
Eric Orts
GCI Advisory Board Member, Dr. Eric Orts, is a Guardsmark Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, scholar and teacher with specialities in corporate governance and environmental sustainability, founding board member of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability, and passionate advocate for climate solutions and political reforms who recently ran for political office.

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Erin Burns
“…(W)e’re at a really exciting point for carbon removal: we’re seeing a ton of attention on this topic, we’re seeing billion dollar level investments,… and we’re seeing a lot more engagement. Carbon removal has really arrived.” 

Erin Burns, Executive Director of Carbon180 and GCI Advisory Board Member, has previously worked on energy, labor, and coal worker transition issues in the US Senate. She is originally from West Virginia and currently lives in Washington, DC with her family.

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Etosha Cave
“When I envision the future, I still see CO2-made materials being a big part of everyday life. It’s going to be a huge infrastructure change to use CO2 instead of merely throwing it away.” 

Dr. Cave is the co-founder and CSO of Twelve (formerly known as Opus 12), a start-up company dedicated to recycling carbon dioxide and water into higher-valued products–such as jet fuel–using metal catalysts, and electricity.  She is also a Member of the NREL Advisory Board. A Houston native, she earned a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford.

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Fred Mason
“Although I lobbied the C-suite and others on sustainability as a source of enterprise value, it was never my day job. I was simply the corporate curmudgeon who was incautiously relentless in advocating for sustainability.”

Fred Mason is a GCI Advisory Board Member and an experienced international executive supporting sustainability with expertise, insight and passion.

Read more.
GCI Student Water Team
This issue of the newsletter features the team of students led by Morgan Cobb, which was recently awarded funding from the Planet Blue Student Innovation Fund. The team’s project is creating a device that will remove carbon dioxide from the Huron River, with a larger device planned for implementation in the Ann Arbor Wastewater Treatment Plant. Cobb, an engineering student and a Global CO2 Initiative Student Association member, worked with team members from diverse areas across the University of MichiganEli Weaver (School for Environment and Sustainability or SEAS), Zachary Rose (Chemistry Department in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts or LSA), and Nikunj Bhimaria (Ross School of Business), as well as advisory Susan Fancy (Associate Director, Global CO2 Initiative). 
Gerry Stokes
“If we do not slow the changes, society will become increasingly maladapted to local climate, leading to local catastrophes from which we just cannot recover.” 

Dr. Gerald Stokes, Global CO2 Initiative Advisory Board Member, has been affiliated with Stony Brook University for nearly a decade, most recently as the Chair of Technology and Society at SUNY Korea. He has served as an Associate Laboratory Director at both Brookhaven National Laboratory and Pacific NW National Lab. He was also the founding director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, and the President and CEO of Battelle-Japan. He earned his BA in Physics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his MS and PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Chicago

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Grant Faber
“The unfathomable urgency of the climate crisis paired with the opportunity to build a socially, environmentally, and economically responsible industry from the ground up inspires me every day to work even harder and add even more value.”

This newsletter issue features Grant Faber, Founder and President, Carbon-Based Consulting LLC.

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Jaeson Cardiff
“All of us can play a part in solving these crazy, huge problems. There is no exception to the rule. We are all equal players if we apply ourselves.”

~ Jaeson Cardiff, Microscale carbon capture innovator 
Jan Mazurek
Dr. Jan Mazurek, Senior Director at ClimateWorks Foundation, has devoted close to 30 years at the highest levels of federal and state service to devising policies and institutions that drive down emissions. She plans to devote the next several decades to doing even more, using trees and technology to safely remove and store carbon pollution that causes the planet to warm.

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Jason Grillo & AirMiners
“There’s an African proverb: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together,’ and while we have far to go to remove the first gigaton of carbon, the strength of our community means we can do it.” 

Jason Grillo, Partnerships and Operations Director for AirMiners, dedicated his career to climate solutions focused on carbon removal, striving to resolve the gap between cutting-edge innovations and real-world customer needs. He holds an MBA from Duke, and an undergraduate degree from Harvard. Jason enjoys communicating in many different languages, participates in endurance sports, and has collected an extensive collection of Dad jokes, having started decades before he became a Dad!

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Jason Hochman
“We have to be hopeful, because being hopeful helps shape what we do, and how we address this challenge. …(I)f we think that we can solve it, and that we can create a more prosperous future, a safer climate, and a more habitable planet, then that’s the only way that we’re going to do it.”

Jason is the Co-Founder and Senior Director at  Direct Air Capture Coalition . He leads a growing global, non-profit, multi-stakeholder coalition of over 110 companies, organizations, and institutions working to advance and accelerate the deployment of direct air capture technology to help address climate change. Previously, he helped craft the policy and regulatory construct promoting utility clean energy and energy efficiency efforts at Con Edison, and has worked on climate and sustainability issues at the Department of Defense, Acclimatise, and Demos. He earned an M.S. (Global Energy & Environmental Policy) from New York University and a B.A. (History and Public Policy) from Brown University. He has traveled to all seven continents and can complete a New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in under 15 minutes. 
Jennifer Holmgren
“I don’t think of mistakes as mistakes. You just have to dig deeper. Every time that something goes wrong, you have to dig deeper to find a solution.”

Dr. Holmgren is the CEO of LanzaTech and the the Director and Chair of the LanzaJet Board of Directors. Among many other accolades, she received the 2020 William C. Holmberg Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Advanced Bioeconomy by the Digest and the Edison Achievement Award for making a significant and lasting contribution to the world of innovation. She is on the Advisory Council for the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

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Jennifer Wilcox
“The path will be a delicate balance of trade offs, but understanding the building blocks to minimize environmental impacts will be critical to ensuring we are not simply transferring this burden to future generations.”

The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Dr. Wilcox previously led WRI’s Carbon Removal Program. She holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering and a MA in Chemistry from the University of Arizona and BA in Mathematics from Wellesley College.

Read more.
Jessica Liang Innovation for Impact Svante team
University of Michigan student team recognized in 2023 Financial Times Responsible Business Education Awards 

This unique issue of the newsletter features the University of Michigan (U-M) student team that was one of 19 student teams across the world that was recognized in the 2023 Financial Times Responsible Business Education Competition. The team originated as part of the “Innovation for Impact Climate Change” (formerly known as “TechLab Climate Change”) course taught at the U-M Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE).

Read more.
Jonathan T. Overpeck
“Michigan is now a climate action leader, and that’s reason for even more hope. It shows we all – students, staff, faculty, citizens – can make a difference, and we’ll keep making a difference.”

In celebration of the winding down of both COP28 and the calendar year, this very special issue of the newsletter features Dr. Jonathan T. Overpeck, the Samuel A. Graham Dean of the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability; William B. Stapp Collegiate Professor of Environmental Education; Professor, Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering; Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

In his free time, Jonathan, or “Peck” as he is often called, enjoys walking his dogs, despite having worn out his knees hiking and climbing because “being outdoors is my happy place.”
Josh Schaidle
“I want to be a resource and help support people in this field as much as possible, because I think we need all hands on deck to move this forward. I hope to play a small role in that, and I want to help empower others to do the same.”

Dr. Josh Schaidle is the Laboratory Program Manager, Carbon Management, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Global CO2 Initiative Advisory Board Member.

In addition to being the Laboratory Program Manager for Carbon Management, Josh is also the Chief of Staff for NREL’s Bioenergy Science and Technology Directorate and is the director of the Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium ( He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering (University of California Santa Barbara), a PhD in Chemical Engineering (University of Michigan), and a Distinguished Leadership Certificate (University of Michigan Ross Business School) and has won multiple awards and accolades for his work.
Joshua Jack

“Being at the University of Michigan I have the privilege of working with some of the nation’s best students and faculty. …I am often inspired by the next generation of engineers and scientists who are eager to develop new solutions to some of our greatest challenges.”

~ Dr. Joshua Jack, University of Michigan Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor and Global CO2 Initiative Faculty Affiliate.

Prior to joining the University of Michigan (U-M), Joshua served as a postdoctoral research scholar in the Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment at Princeton University. He holds a BS from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a PhD (Environmental Engineering) from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Joshua has conducted extensive interdisciplinary research at both the DOE-National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and NASA Langley Research Center, and has received numerous awards including a Scialog Negative Emission Science Fellow, NASA Outstanding Research Contribution Award, and National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. In his spare time, he enjoys playing classical guitar and taking long hikes; he has also skied at almost every major resort in the Rocky Mountains.
Julia Zhou
“There are many more startups that are coming up with cutting-edge solutions to capture and reduce CO2 – we just need to find and support them in the best way possible.” 

 Julia Zhou, Co-Founder of Tidal Impact, also serves as an executive board member of the Sigma Squared Society (previously known as the Kairos Society), a global community of some of the world’s most ambitious founders in their early 20s. She speaks four languages.

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Julio Friedmann
The Second Law of Thermodynamics is a harsh mistress—it says you’ll always lose energy converting spent fuel back into fuel. However, when renewables become cheap and abundant, as they are locally today, the opportunity becomes arbitraging energy for money. That’s very, very hard, but no longer lunacy.” 

Dr. Friedmann, Chief Scientist/Head Carbon Wrangler at Carbon Direct and GCI Advisory Board Member, is one of the most widely known and authoritative experts in the US on carbon removal, CO2 conversion and use, hydrogen, industrial decarbonization, and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). He has served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy (DOE) and as Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA. He received his BS and MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by his PhD in Geology at the University of Southern California

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Kat Sale
“My advice for young women and girls interested in engineering is to let others hear you. Entering a male-dominated field, often less is expected of you and, as such, you’re given fewer opportunities. If you aren’t given a chance to speak, then make it!”

In celebration of Women in Engineering Day on June 23, this issue of the GCI newsletter features Kat Sale, U-M chemical engineering undergraduate, transfer student, Kansas native, LafargeHolcim intern, math and science savant.

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Kendra Hagey
“Ultimately, physical carbon capture units on campus can demonstrate to other students that carbon capture is not just some theoretical solution to climate change–it has real potential to make a difference.”

This first newsletter issue of 2023 features the incoming president of the Global CO2 Initiative Student Association (GCISA), Kendra Hagey.

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Kianna Marquez
“Once I took more classes in chemical engineering, and I heard about carbon removal, I really fell in love with it.”

Kianna Marquez is a junior in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan’s (U-M) College of Engineering, a columnist for the Michigan Daily, and the founder of the Global CO2 Initiative Student Association.

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Kristi Kattapong
Kristi Kattapong, Communications Specialist at the Global CO2 Initiative, describes her position as a communications bridge, helping forge connections between academia, research, industry and the world beyond. 
Kwabi-McNeil-Goldsmith team
This unique issue of the Global CO2 Initiative newsletter features a team of people, rather than an individual: Dr. David Kwabi (PI), Dr. Anne McNeil (Co-PI) and Dr. Bryan R. Goldsmith (Co-PI). These three University of Michigan faculty members were recently accepted to participate in the Microsoft Climate Research Initiative (MCRI), a community of multi-disciplinary researchers working together to fight climate change.

Their project, “Computational Design and Characterization of Organic Electrolytes for Flow Battery and Carbon Capture Applications,” seeks to use generative machine learning models and quantum mechanical modeling to drive the discovery and optimization of a new class of organic molecules for energy-efficient electrochemical energy storage and carbon capture. It is of particular importance because energy storage is essential to enable 100% zero-carbon electricity generation.

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Louise Kjellerup Roper
“There’s not a scenario in which we get climate change under control without carbon capture and utilization (CCU).”

Louise Kjellerup Roper is GCI Advisory Board Member and Chief Executive Officer at Volans. She is also A successful business leader and thinker with experience across management, sales, integrated marketing and NPD.

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Marcius Extavour
Dr. Marcius Extavour, Vice President, Energy & Climate at XPRIZE, is a thought leader and innovator working at the intersection of science, technology, global impact, and public policy in climate and energy. As a member of leadership group at XPRIZE Foundation, he oversees XPRIZE’s work in Energy & Climate, including the recent NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE and the new $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal supported by the Musk Foundation.

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Markus Steilemann
“My north star is the Covestro vision of making the world a brighter place. This applies to conserving our environment and creating a sustainable economic order that unites value creation and wellbeing. And… we need fair, integrative societies that are more just, more tolerant and more cohesive.” 

 Dr. Markus Steilemann, Chairman of the Management Board of Covestro AG, Chief Executive Officer at Covestro and Chemistry PhD, is also the President of PlasticsEurope, the association of plastics manufacturers in Europe as well as a Vice President of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI).

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Matt Parker
“…(B)eing an OpenAir co-founder is really just being a glorified volunteer. We’re all just volunteers. We’re all just collectors. And we’re all just giving our time, effort and energy to try to have as much impact as we can.” 

~ Matt Parker, activist, artist, game designer, professor, and co-founder of the OpenAir Collective. 
Maureen Martin
“All of the people I meet with believe that they have the power to make a difference in the world. There’s always people who care deeply, give of themselves, and believe that makes a difference–how could you not love it?”

~Maureen Martin, Interim Executive Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations and GCI fundraising guide.
Melissa Zaksek
” I see a growing sense of urgency in our field… I see less patience for the status quo, more disdain for virtue signaling, and a push to shift from talk to action.”

~ Melissa Zaksek Associate Director, Research, the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Environmental Management Institute

Previously, Melissa worked for the University of MichiganGraham Sustainability Institute and for the U.S. Forest Service. She holds degrees from Michigan State University ( B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.S.). At one point in her career she was a certified wildland firefighter, and spent some time with a hotshot crew in Idaho working on fires in Idaho, Arizona, and Utah.
Michael Carus
“It is clear what needs to be done, the technologies exist and many companies are willing to invest in renewable solutions. What is missing now are smart policies to build the bridge between now and 2050 for companies to remain competitive in the sustainability transformation.”

This newsletter issue features Michael Carus, Founder and managing director, nova-Institut GmbH.

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Moti Herskowitz
“The extraordinary challenge in this field is to cross the Valley of Death… necessary for commercial implementation.”

Dr. Moti Herskowitz, Director of the Blechner Center for Industrial Catalysis and Process Development at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, earned his PhD from University of California, Davis.

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Nicole Mendoza
Dr. Nicole Mendoza, Senior Researcher in Wind Energy Systems at National Renewable Energy Laboratory & Chief Technology Officer at SkyBaron. She is a 2020 Environmental Entrepreneurs 1 Hotels Fellow and Emerging Leader. She has also won multiple scholarships and awards while completing her PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. She is a passionate champion for women and minorities in STEM and renewable energy, diversity and inclusion, and saving the planet. 

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“It is such a privilege to get to work on arguably the most important problem for our generation with a solution that has a very solid chance of becoming incredibly significant.”

This newsletter features Paebbl, an organization co-founded by Pol KnopsMarta SjögrenAndreas Saari, and Jane Walerud

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Peter Psarras
“…(T)here are tipping points and things can change rapidly. I look at the problems remaining—they’re challenging but not unsolvable…”

Dr. Peter Psarras, is a Research Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He oversees research on indirect carbonation of alkaline feedstocks, coupled LCA/TEA analyses of carbon management pathways, and strategic road mapping of CCUS and CDR deployment within the context of regional variations in resource availability, techno-economic viability, and impact at the community level. 

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Raven Shilander
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you might not be as successful in this field because you don’t have ‘the right’ background. You can always get the background that you need. If you’re interested in it, do it!”   

Raven Shilander, Chemical Engineering undergraduate at the University of Michigan College of Engineering, incoming President of the Global CO2 Initiative Student Association (GCISA) is a senior at the University of Michigan. She chairs the Engineering Student Government’s Sustainability Committee and is very active in local sustainability efforts. Her other accomplishments include founding West Ottawa’s first-ever musical club and holding a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo.

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Rosina Bierbaum
Dr. Rosina Bierbaum, GCI Advisory Board Member,  is a professor at both the University of Michigan and at the University of Maryland. She  ran the first Environment Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She chairs the Scientific and Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility, and serves as a Science Adviser to the newly created Global Adaptation Commission. She served on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, as an Adaptation Fellow at the World Bank, and as a member of the Michigan Climate Action Council.

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Santa Ono
“(Universities are) where bold and sustainable solutions come to life, and accordingly, it’s our responsibility to work to apply our approaches at a greater scale. That’s why the University of Michigan is taking climate action so seriously, and why we’re committed to learning from and working with the communities we serve.”

Dr. Ono discusses his views on sustainability and academia.

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Sequestration Squad
“…That recipe for success is something that can only happen at a few places, one of them being the U-M.”

Sequestration Squad is a team of University of Michigan (U-M) students which was recently selected the first place winners of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) American-Made Carbon Management Collegiate Competition.  We caught up with team member Stephen Brown to find out more about their amazing success story.
Shantonio Birch
“We are a startup company who has the drive and big vision characteristic of tech enterprises, but we are equally a social impact enterprise organization. We’re very passionate about solving global issues.”

~ Dr. Shantonio Birch, Mechanical Engineering PhD and founder / CEO of ThermoVerse.

Shantonio is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan College of Engineering (PhD), who passed up several lucrative job offers to start his own company. Among his many awards and accolades, he is a GEM Fellow, a NSF Graduate Research Fellow, and a Rackham Merit Fellow. A self-described Tech Founder, Globe Trotter, and Islander, Shantonio has lived in or visited many countries around the world. In fact, in graduate school he would travel to a new country every semester.
Sindhu Ranganath
“It’s important that people understand some of the science behind sustainability in order to avoid greenwashing. If you want to get into this field, you need to first make sure you are educated and aware.”

~Sindhu Ranganath, Sustainability Intern at the Global CO2 Initiative.

Sindhu holds a BA in architecture from SJB School of Architecture and Planning and M.Tech in GIS and Remote Sensing from CEPT University She is currently pursuing her MS in Environment and Sustainability from SEAS at the University of Michigan (U-M). Prior to Ann Arbor, she practiced and taught architecture and interior design for several years at her native in India. Although both of her parents are coffee aficionados, Sindhu has never had any coffee in her life.
“We shifted our focus from developing cutting-edge technology for astronauts on the International Space Station to tackling the excess CO2 challenge here on Earth, but we never stopped looking upward.”

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Stafford Sheehan
Dr. Stafford Sheehan is the Chief Technology Officer at Air Company. Air Company is a technology, engineering and design company that transforms carbon dioxide into products like vodka and sanitizer. Stafford received his PhD from Yale University in 2016, studying chemical methods for artificial photosynthesis and related systems, and for the last five years has been developing industrial technology for CO2 utilization.

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Stephen McCord
“When you find someone that breaks the mold and says ‘It’s not going to be easy, but here are some steps towards a solution,’ it’s invigorating. Really even just a person’s attitude can be very energizing. Surrounding yourself with people that have that type of attitude can be quite inspiring.”

GCI LSC/TEA team member, Stephen McCord discusses differences between the US & England, LCA/TEA analysis, SCLA, and where he finds inspiration.

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Susan Fancy
It will take decades for us to transition off of fossil fuels. In the meantime, we can capture that carbon and do something with it.”
This issue features Susan Fancy, mechanical engineer, GCI Program Manager, launcher of University of Michigan’s (U-M’s) first solar car team, and former drag racer.

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Swapnil Jagtap
 Dr. Swapnil Jagtap, Global CO2 Initiative Post-doctoral Research Fellow and the most recent addition to the GCI team, is working on an industry-sponsored project on the prospect of the emerging technology of CO2-made sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the US. The project considers environmental, social lifecycle, and economic / market analysis as well identifying future market opportunities.
Thomas Chepucavage
“Certainly with entrepreneurship, it’s all about perseverance… When you have something that there’s a market for, you just have to keep pushing through, because it’s going to be a nonstop fight.”

Tom is the CEO and Co-Founder, Flow Aluminum. His great breadth of experience spans operations, quality assurance, finance, sales, analysis and technological innovation, although he hopes his legacy will also demonstrate his commitment to inclusivity, safety, and environmental sustainability. He holds a BS from Georgetown University and an Executive MBA from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. In his youth, he played guitar for a touring rock band — Doublespeak.
Volker Sick
“Carbon dioxide capture and utilization offers us the opportunity to help stabilize the climate, to ensure continued access to products that cannot be made without carbon, and to add critically needed jobs especially in underserved regions of the world. These are all urgent needs that require swift and large-scale action.”

Dr. Volker Sick, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Mechanical Engineering, DTE Energy Professor of Advanced Energy Research and Director of the Global CO, Initiative, is a leading expert on carbon capture and utilization. His work focuses on accelerating deployments of CO2-utilization technologies that will innovate existing infrastructure and manufacturing processes, thereby finding sustainable decarbonization solutions to help address the climate crisis.

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Volker Sick, new Faculty Director at the U-M Center for Entrepreneurship
“The fun begins with putting together the teams and then seeing them come together, finding a focus, appreciating their own shortcomings and building on the complementary skills that others bring. …Innovation for Impact benefits from teams that might be academically as diverse as to include a freshman and a PhD student and any level in between. The learnings that come from such a combination go way beyond the subject matter and have always fascinated me in their success.”

This issue of the newsletter features a profile on Dr. Volker Sick and his work with the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE). Dr. Sick was recently named Faculty Director at the CFE, in addition to his current role as the Director of the Global CO2 Initiative.

This feature story, courtesy of Hailey McCormick, CFE Marketing and Communications Specialist, first appeared as a Staff Spotlight on the CFE Blog.

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