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Andlinger Center Events

Summer Seminar Series: Erin Mayfield

Date: June 30, 2021

Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Location: Virtual over Zoom


Erin Mayfield

Designing Net-Zero Emissions Energy Systems to Address Environmental and Societal Objectives

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Erin Mayfield is a sustainable systems engineering and public policy researcher. Currently an associate research scholar at Princeton University, she will be an assistant professor at Dartmouth College beginning in September. Her research focuses on developing multi-objective computational models that integrate technoeconomic, environmental, and social equity objectives to inform energy and industrial infrastructure system transitions in the context of climate change. She previously worked as an environmental engineer on natural resource damages litigation related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, hazardous waste remediation, and ecosystem services valuation related to petrochemical and pesticide contamination. Mayfield has also held positions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Congress, and Environmental Law Institute. She received her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Rutgers University, master’s degree in environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and Ph.D. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.


Achieving economy-wide net-zero emissions will entail transformational changes in engineered systems across sectors. As part of this, future energy and industrial infrastructure systems will need to be designed to balance the often-conflicting objectives of multiple actors.

Macro-energy system models are increasingly used to plan systems and typically adopt least-cost objectives to select optimal technoeconomic pathways to achieve climate goals. In contrast, non-cost objectives, related to pollution or jobs, for example, that may influence decision and design processes are often treated as outcomes rather than explicit objectives.

This presentation will review potential technological scenarios for infrastructure deployment to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century. An approach for operationalizing non-cost objectives associated with air quality, labor, and land use in macro-energy system models will be presented.  This approach will be demonstrated through case studies of coal electric power retirements, natural gas supply chain development, and utility-scale solar siting.

About the New Light Series
New Light: Rising Stars in Energy and the Environment is a summer webinar series to spotlight associate research scholars, postdoctoral research fellows, and other early-career researchers affiliated with the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. Weekly webinars feature a diverse range of researchers working on cutting-edge topics across disciplines who seek to solve society’s most pressing problems in energy and the environment. View the full line-up.

This seminar is co-sponsored by The High Meadows Environmental Institute.