Climate & Sustainability

Many of the grand climate and sustainability challenges are deeply materials dependent. Our faculty are inventing new methods of water purification, electrifying and decarbonizing cement and steel production, low-power computing, grid-scale energy storage, and more.


Antoine Allanore

Associate Professor of Metallurgy

Professor Allanore is developing processes for sustainable materials extraction and manufacturing, revisiting and inventing new methods of producing metals, fertilizers, and more.

Yet-Ming Chiang

Kyocera Professor; National Academy of Engineering

Professor Chiang is focused on reducing global greenhouse gases in as many sectors as possible. Projects include batteries used in cars and aviation, ultra-low-cost energy storage for grid applications, municipal waste ash mining for valuable chemicals, electrifying production of Portland cement production, and more.

Jeffrey C. Grossman

Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems; Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; MacVicar Fellow

Professor Grossman is designing nanomaterials for applications that range from clean energy to water filtration and energy-efficient separations, with a goal of making an impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Dorothy Hosler

Professor of Archaeology and Ancient Technology

Professor Hosler studies the extraction and use, specifically alloy property relations, of copper-based objects in ancient Mesoamerica and Northern South America.

Heather Nan Lechtman

Professor of Archaeology and Ancient Technology; Director, Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE)

Professor Lechtman studies prehistoric systems of technology developed by Andean peoples, specializing in prehistoric Andean metallurgy.

Elsa A. Olivetti

Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Associate Professor in Materials Science and Engineering

Professor Olivetti examines materials, process, and system design towards improved environmental impacts from extraction to end-of-life using analytical, experimental, and data-driven methods.

Julia Ortony

Samuel A. Goldblith Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering

Professor Ortony is using molecular engineering to create nanostructures for energy and health applications.

Max Price


My research studies the long-term sustainability of livestock husbandry in the temperate/semi-arid environments of the Middle East. Only by understanding the significance of livestock, not only as sources of calories but also in their many other roles, can we begin to shift towards more sustainable relations with animals in ways that take culture and social values into consideration.

Donald R. Sadoway

John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry

Professor Sadoway's research is focused on extreme electrochemistry for grid-level storage (liquid metal battery), decarbonization of steelmaking (molten oxide electrolysis), safe, scalable energy storage for electric vehicles (aluminum-sulfur battery), and eradication of point-source CO2 emissions post production (molten salt electrolysis). 

Yang Shao-Horn

JR East Professor of Engineering

Professor Shao-Horn's work is focused on energy storage, using electrocatalysis to improve energy density in Li–ion batteries and exploring future technologies for effective grid and transportation storage.

C. Cem Tasan

Thomas B. King Associate Professor of Metallurgy

Professor Tasan studies the microstructural mechanisms of metal deformation and failure using in-situ microscopy techniques, in order to design new alloys with superior property combinations.

Krystyn J. Van Vliet

Michael (1949) and Sonja Koerner Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Associate Vice President for Research; Associate Provost

Professor Van Vliet studies the materials complexity introduced by coupling between chemical and mechanical environments experienced in biological and energy systems to engineer systems that are resistant to degradation or harness the dynamics the chemomechanical interface offers.


Carbon Building Blocks

Coal could someday be used to make a variety of useful devices, researchers suggest.