Robert Armstrong

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Director, MIT Energy Initiative; Chevron Professor of Chemical Engineering

Professor Robert C. Armstrong directs the MIT Energy Initiative, an Institute-wide effort at MIT linking science, technology, and policy to transform the world’s energy systems. A member of the MIT faculty since 1973, Armstrong served as head of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1996 to 2007. His research is focused on pathways to a low-carbon energy future. Armstrong has been elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2020) and the National Academy of Engineering (2008). He received the Founders Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Chemical Engineering (2020), Warren K. Lewis Award (2006), and the Professional Progress Award (1992), all from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He also received the 2006 Bingham Medal from the Society of Rheology, which is devoted to the study of the science of deformation and flow of matter. Armstrong was a member of MIT’s Future of Natural Gas and Future of Solar Energy study groups. He advised the teams that developed MITEI’s most recent reports, The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World (2018) and Insights into Future Mobility (2019), and is chairing the new MITEI study, The Future of Storage. He co-edited Game Changers: Energy on the Move with former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz.

Sessions With Robert Armstrong

Tuesday, 8 March

Thursday, 10 March

  • 02:30pm - 03:10pm (CST) / 10/mar/2022 08:30 pm - 10/mar/2022 09:10 pm

    Voices of Innovation: Vijay Swarup


    One-on-one candid conversations from the foremost and sometimes controversial thought leaders.

  • 03:30pm - 04:10pm (CST) / 10/mar/2022 09:30 pm - 10/mar/2022 10:10 pm

    View from the Ivory Tower: Role of universities in advancing decarbonization technologies

    Panel Innovation & Technology

    After the pandemic-induced drop in 2020, energy demand and emissions are back on their growth trajectories. In its report “Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector,” the IEA stated that getting to net-zero by 2050 will require “nothing short of a total transformation of the energy system that underpins our economies.” The report also observed that “the pathway is narrow but achievable.” Shorter innovation cycles and faster scale-up of new and existing energy technologies will be essential in achieving these targets within this time frame. Although the power sector is decarbonizing at a fast pace, other sectors are lagging significantly. How are three of the world’s leading universities addressing this challenge? How are these universities planning to reduce industrial emissions? How are universities, national labs, and energy companies improving their collaborations? What climate-resilient infrastructure investments do universities recommend publicly funding? What is the responsibility of universities to enable and support a “Just Transition” in developing countries? How can universities encourage the next generation to work in the energy industry?

Friday, 11 March

  • 08:25am - 09:05am (CST) / 11/mar/2022 02:25 pm - 11/mar/2022 03:05 pm

    How Fast Can Innovation Scale?

    Panel Energy Transition/Climate & Sustainability

    The IEA estimates that about half of the technologies needed to deliver net zero emissions by 2050 are not currently commercially competitive. Innovation is fundamental to achieving national pledges for net zero, accounting for 90% of global GDP. What is needed to accelerate the chain from laboratories to commercial application to financing to deployment? Should multiple tracks—such as hydrogen, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), and fusion—move forward in parallel to mitigate risk? Where should efforts be focused to achieve success?