Federal infrastructure and science policies are calling for “moonshot” projects to ensure carbon-free energy infrastructure to combat the anticipated large negative impacts of climate change. Iowa’s abundant wind, bioenergy and solar resources make it a strong player in the emerging green energy landscape. By 2040, Iowa can become a net exporter of energy. Achieving net export status will bring energy independence to Iowa and will attract industries supplying and demanding clean energy. However, to achieve its potential Iowa needs to accelerate research, development, and adoption of low-carbon energy production and storage methods. These technical elements must be coordinated with workforce development, innovation ecosystem, and public policy. The pace and scale of the transition will be significant, amounting to more than 10% of GDP per year combining contributions from transportation, electricity, fuels, industry, construction, agriculture, and building operation sectors.

Combining engineering, data science, public policy, environmental science, and business expertise, we will develop large proposals around the central question: how can R&D, education and outreach, markets, & socio-economic policy shift evolving barriers & attitudes towards adoption of carbon management practices & energy technologies? A number of partner organizations (business, local government, campus partners, agricultural partners) are identified in the proposal that are enthusiastic about guiding and participating in the project. Together, these efforts will position the University of Iowa for future grants, contracts, and leadership roles in the rapid decarbonization transition.

Research Team: PI: Charles Stanier (Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Engineering), Co-PIs: Jerry Anthony (Urban and Regional Planning, Graduate College), Marc Linderman (Geography and Sustainability Sciences, CLAS), Wei Li (Finance, Business), Collaborators: Ion (Bodi) Vasi (Sociology), Sara Maples (Business), Xun Zhou (Business Analytics), HS Udaykumar (Engineering)

Partner Organizations

State Government

  •  Iowa Economic Development Authority

Energy Companies

  • University of Iowa Energy Collaborative
  • Moxie Solar


  • Practical Farmers of Iowa
  • Iowa Farmer’s Union

Local government

  • Linn County
  • City of Dubuque
  • City of Bloomfield

University of Iowa

  • Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities
  • University of Iowa Office of Sustainability and Environment

Research Questions

  1. Realistic options for low-carbon cost-effective heating of buildings in the upper midwest.
  2. How do residential and commercial property/building/landowners make decisions about solar adoption?
  3. How do behavioral economic principles of decision-making in the presence of uncertainty play out in renewable energy?
  4. How do these issues influence the viability of rural communities?   

Upcoming Events

Join the Decarb 2040 email list and influence future events via this short survey.

Batteries, Hydrogen, Energy Storage & Energy Carrier in the Midwest (Dec. 8, 2021, time to be announced)

Academic and industry leaders will hold a series of short talks educating a remote audience on recent developments, opportunities, and challenges in battery storage and hydrogen as enabling methods for a low-carbon energy system.

Decarbonization and rural communities (Jan. 2022, TBA)

A panel discussion on the intersection of decarbonization and rural agricultural communities. What are the decarbonization/energy independence challenges, opportunities, barriers, and successful strategies specific to rural communities. How do these intersect with rural-urban equity issues? 

Archived Email Updates from Decarb2040

Past Events

Behavioral and public policy research needs for solar energy (Oct. 27)

A panel of academic, community, and industry experts presented and discussed evolving research and Iowa case studies on how stakeholders make decisions about adoption of solar at residential and commercial locations. 


Date/Time: Wednesday, Oct. 27 

Missed the event? Click on each speaker to access their slides.

Kickoff with Breakfast - Decarb 2040 - Coffee & Bagels - Positioning Iowa as an energy exporter in the coming age of deep decarbonization 

Come and chat with us about a one-year community building and research effort centered on clean energy.  Light breakfast provided.  We are an interdisciplinary faculty team from Tippie College of Business, Planning & Public Affairs, Geographical and Sustainable Studies, Journalism and Mass Communication, Sociology, and Engineering. We are seeking convergent new research projects to advance clean energy and energy independence in the Midwestern US.  Internal UI funding available for you. 

Date/Time: Friday, Oct. 8 

View the recording of the session here.

Download slides from lead presenter Charles Stanier here

Funding Opportunities

Funding results from Pivot*
*must be connected to UI network or VPN

Build environment and energy infrastructure

Bioenergy and fuels

Carbon capture, trading, agriculture, and sequestration