Widening the Lens on Innovation for Clean Manufacturing
Workshop series and report for policymakers to inform a U.S. manufacturing innovation agenda that is compatible with climate change policies and a carbon-free economy.
With industry accounting for up to 38 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is imperative to integrate the manufacturing innovation agenda with climate change policies. The workshop series Widening the Lens on Innovation for Clean Manufacturing is part of an effort aimed at developing an integrated road map and recommendations for RD&D investments and policies that harness these synergies.
Released in June 2021, the resulting report is jointly published by the Institute for Sustainable Energy (now the Boston University Institute for Global Sustainability), Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation at Boston University, and Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.Read Report
- Clean Energy & Climate Innovation: New Opportunities for Infrastructure Investment (infrastructure, RD&D, planning and financing)
Project Overview and Objectives
This project seeks to bring underappreciated opportunities for clean manufacturing innovation to greater prominence with the goal of shaping the climate and manufacturing policy agenda. We plan to convene an expert working group, conduct a series of virtual workshops to assess opportunities, and write a report to propose new directions for the expansion of federal manufacturing research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) and technology transition investments. The report will be completed by June 2021 with recommendations that may be acted upon by the 117th Congress and the new administration.
While these developments are welcome, the industrial decarbonization research agenda is not yet broad enough. Solutions that could be more effective over the long-term for high-emissions activities may be locked out unless they are added quickly. Technological domains that are making extraordinarily rapid progress but have not been integral to industrial research in the past, such as synthetic biology and materials by design, are particularly important to include.
The scope of the clean manufacturing innovation agenda has immense implications for U.S. leadership. The transition to a low-carbon economy could devalue fundamental competencies that firms in many major industrial sectors, such as metals, chemicals, and cement, rely on today. If U.S. manufacturers are first movers in developing and scaling innovative solutions and the associated competencies, they could seize the lead back in sectors where U.S. competitiveness has declined as well as establish an advantage in new ones.
The federal government has a clear interest in ensuring that the clean manufacturing innovation agenda is sufficiently broad, robustly engaged, and linked to U.S. competitiveness and climate goals. Although the private sector will ultimately bear the bulk of the cost of industrial decarbonization, federal investment and partnerships will be necessary to create options that will be timely, technically feasible, and economically viable.
Peter Fox-Penner, Director, IGS (email)
David Hart, Senior Fellow, ITIF (email)
Henry Kelly, Senior Fellow, IGS (email)
Ryan Murphy, Research Assistant, IGS (email)
Dorothy Robyn, Senior Fellow, IGS (email)
Kurt Roth, Senior Fellow, IGS; Head, Building Energy Systems, Fraunhofer USA (email)
Andre Sharon, Affiliated Faculty, IGS; Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University; Executive Director, Fraunhofer CMI (email)