U-M student team wins federal competition with innovative CO2 management solution

A University of Michigan student team was awarded first place in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) inaugural American-Made Carbon Management Collegiate Competition.

For the competition, students were tasked with designing regional carbon networks that could move at least one million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually from industrial sources like power plants or ethanol production facilities to locations where the CO2 would either be used to manufacture products or permanently stored. 

Tess Antrim-Cashin is captain of the team, which is called the Sequestration Squad. She strongly emphasizes that the win was a group effort with her teammates, Stephen Brown, Caroline Chisolm, and Greg Allinson.

"Everyone worked so hard. We were all second-semester seniors and it was great to be with a group of people that were really dedicated and passionate about this project," Antrim-Cashin says. "It feels great to get recognized and rewarded."

Unique to many teams, U-M’s team was made up of four Master of Business Administration (MBA) students, including just one with a background in engineering. Still, the team secured the win with its submission of a hyperlocal blueprint for safe CO2 sequestration and integrative city planning in Houston, Texas. The team's submission also included a replicable pipeline system designed for any major metropolitan area.

Antrim-Cashin says the team also wanted its presentation to focus on community needs, noting that technical execution of the project should emphasize safety and community development.

"We kind of centered it on the concept that public trust is really critical to scaling a system," Antrim-Cashin says. "Our solution centered on Houston, but it could be repeated anywhere that had both strong carbon source and carbon sink facilities."

The team’s next step is transforming its research paper into a presentation for DOE’s annual Carbon Management Research Project Review Meeting in August, where all winning teams will have the opportunity to showcase their proposals. 
"We're exploring what we need to do to turn what was a somewhat dense research paper into more of a presentation or pitch format," Antrim-Cashin says. "That's something I think that's a little bit closer to the natural habitat of an MBA, so that should be fun." 

Layla McMurtrie is a recent Eastern Michigan University graduate and former editor-in-chief of The Eastern Echo. She has a passion for arts and culture and hopes to tell the stories of underrepresented Michigan residents.
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