Solving for Carbon Neutrality at MIT: A look back at Spring 2021

Solving for Carbon Neutrality at MIT: A look back at Spring 2021

With a focus on designing solution scenarios for MIT for the short and long term, Solving for Carbon Neutrality at MIT, led by instructors Julie Newman (Director of Sustainability and DUSP lecturer) and Tim Gutowski (Professor of Mechanical Engineering), engages students in project-based learning with the campus as a test bed for ideas.

With a focus on designing solution scenarios for MIT for the short and long term, Solving for Carbon Neutrality at MIT, led by instructors Julie Newman (Director of Sustainability and DUSP lecturer) and Tim Gutowski (Professor of Mechanical Engineering), engages students in project-based learning with the campus as a test bed for ideas. The Spring 2021 cohort of students crafted solutions which included a range of how to reduce MIT's emissions including through carbon capture for Scope 1 and 2 emissions and better tracking and reducing both commuting and business travel emissions, classified as Scope 3.

Students Gustavo Castillo, TJ Park, and Noah Wieckowski shared their presentations as well as their motivation for taking the course to provide an inside look at the work of this past semester. 


 

Gustavo Castillo is pursuing an MBA/MS from the Sloan School of Management and School of Engineering at MIT and is an LGOPPT presentation slide Fellow
 
What prompted you to take this course?
I grew up in Los Angeles and smog was something I was all too familiar with. My desire for clean skies led me to develop an interest in clean energy and learning more about how I could do my part to reduce carbon emissions. This course gave me practical skills that let me quantify an organization’s carbon footprint and find tangible solutions to reach carbon neutrality. I’m working on a startup named Taxie focused on electrifying transportation and it’s forced me to think critically about the decisions we make as a company to ensure we can reach true carbon zero. 

What will you take with you from this course?
The most important lesson I took away from this class is that I need to make decisions to reduce my own carbon footprint to increase my credibility as an emerging leader in sustainability. Since then, I’ve eliminated beef from my diet and am looking for more lifestyle changes that reflect my values.

Gustavo’s presentation for his graduate project for the course, Business Travel @ MIT, can be viewed here.  


 

TJ Park is pursuing an MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering and is a research assistant in the Laboratory for Aviation andPPT presentation slide the Environment

What prompted you to take this course?
My general interest in energy and sustainability drew me to the course. I’ve learned to appreciate the sheer level of challenge in decarbonizing a single university campus at a micro scale, let alone an entire state, country, or the world. These challenges need to be met in each building, power plant, bus fleet, etc. all around the world for the higher-level Paris agreement goals to be met. 

What will you take with you from this course?
I’ve become much more grounded in my expectations of what is possible to do towards net zero carbon within realistic time and space constraints. Thank you to Professor Gutowski, Newman, and TA Cory for the opportunity to learn such valuable skills. 

TJ’s presentation for his graduate project for the course, Scope 3: Commuting, can be viewed here.  


 

Noah Wieckowski is part of the Professional Education Advanced Study Program, which has allowed him to take graduatePPT presentation slide mechanical engineering classes while working full time at Amazon Robotics.

Why prompted you to take this course?
As a mechanical engineer, I enjoy solving complex problems, and climate change represents one of the most difficult and important problems of our lifetimes. 

What will you take with you from this course?
This course has taught me countless skills, including how to evaluate emissions reduction efforts and better negotiate climate strategies. It has opened my eyes to the drastic yet calculated measures required to make a substantial impact to our warming planet. 

Noah’s presentation for his graduate project Carbon Capture for MIT: Reducing and Eliminating MIT’s Emissions, can be viewed here.