Brief History of the Agreement

The Carbon Mitigation Initiative began officially in January 2001 and moved into its new space in September. Its budget is $1.5 million per year from BP and $0.5 million per year from Ford. The Princeton team wrote a proposal in the Spring of 2000, and news of the award came in the summer of 2000. BP allocated an initial fund of $100,000 in October 2000. A kickoff meeting was held in Princeton in December 2000.


Organization and Governance

The CMI program is divided into five sections:

  1. The Carbon Capture group focuses on the production of CO2 and hydrogen from fossil fuel, distribution to sequestration sites and the consumer, and hydrogen combustion and safety.
  2. The Carbon Storage group focuses on the movement and chemistry of CO2 in underground reservoirs, including leaks and risks to drinking water and human health.
  3. The Carbon Science group investigates the global carbon and climate system and how it constrains the program of mitigation required to solve the greenhouse problem.
  4. The Carbon Policy group investigates the economics of carbon mitigation and the policies necessary to achieve cost-effective solutions.
  5. The Integrative activity provides coordination and attacks crosscutting problems.

The Co-directors of the CMI (Pacala and Socolow) make all decisions jointly. They are assisted by Ranveig Jakobsen and Elaine Kozinsky (both half-funded by CMI). Each programmatic section has a group head: Capture – R. Williams, Storage – M. Celia, Science – J. Sarmiento, Policy – D. Bradford. Socolow and Pacala share responsibility for the Integrative activity.

An Executive Committee meets monthly to steer the program. It consists of the six group heads plus the Director of the Princeton Environmental Institute (F. Morel), which is the umbrella organization for all environmental programs at Princeton. The Executive Committee develops research and funding priorities, but the co-directors have the responsibility for final decisions. An annual meeting of the three partners will be held each January. Priorities and objectives for the year will be finalized immediately following each annual meeting.

Gardiner Hill and Ellen Stechel are the primary contacts for BP and Ford, respectively. An advisory board from other institutions provides strategic advice at the time of the annual meeting.

All CMI researchers gather every Monday at 2 p.m. for a one-hour seminar on research progress, typically followed by an hour of discussion. These meetings have been remarkably successful in building a cohesive team.



At year’s end, we count 50 University researchers as participants in CMI. Fourteen members of the faculty in six departments are actively involved in CMI, and several others are poised to join. We have successfully recruited post-docs and graduate students, many already on campus and many more who have arrived since we started. Figure 1 is a histogram showing the times of joining CMI of the 19 post-docs, 7 graduate students, 8 professional research and technical staff, and 3 visitors – 37 in all. The academic year hiring cycle dictates the pattern: Half (18 of the 37) joined CMI during the summer or when the fall term began.


Interactions with BP/Ford

An important goal of CMI in our first year has been to become familiar with BP and Ford. One or both of the Principal Investigators visited BP offices in London, Sunbury, Houston, Anchorage, Prudhoe Bay, and Jakarta; we gave talks at all except for London and Prudhoe Bay. In addition, two CMI leaders participated in the Carbon Capture Project’s Washington meeting for non-governmental organizations. There was a single four-person visit to Ford in Dearborn that involved a wide cross section of the company, from the Chairman to engineers working on hydrogen vehicles. We also participated in two Sunbury meetings of BP’s Lower Carbon Growth Committee.

Figure 1: Hiring at CMI in Year 2001

We have the goal of holding at least one meeting in each of the research areas each year. In May, a BP-Ford- Princeton meeting in Princeton focused on hydrogen production. In February and November, reciprocal meetings in Houston and Princeton focused on geological storage. A science meeting scheduled in September was postponed until January 17, 2002, because of the events of September 11. Steps toward a more interactive relationship on carbon policy were outlined during the December visit of Peter Davies, BP’s Chief Economist.

BP’s Group Technology Council held a meeting on campus in May. We are pleased that the September 2002 meeting of BP’s Technology Advisory Council will be held at Princeton, and that CMI will be one of the foci of that meeting.