Skip to main content


UH’s Energy Transition Institute Leader Appointed to Department of Energy Committee
Rashda Khan
Joe Powell, founding executive director of the UH Energy Transition Institute.
Joe Powell, founding executive director of the UH Energy Transition Institute.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm appointed Joe Powell, the founding executive director of the Energy Transition Institute at the University of Houston, to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technology Innovation Advisory Committee (ITIAC).

The 18-member committee, a diverse group of stakeholders who report directly to Granholm, will create a comprehensive strategy to accelerate the development of innovative technologies and processes designed to help decarbonize the American industrial sector and reduce emissions. This sector is currently account for approximately one-third of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

The committee’s mandate includes identifying future investment opportunities and technical assistance programs and help move decarbonization technologies out of the lab and into the marketplace. Committee members will also evaluate DOE’s department-wide decarbonization efforts, including initiatives that advance the two Energy Earthshots™ related to industrial decarbonization — the Clean Fuels & Products Shot™ and the Industrial Heat Shot™.

Powell, a distinguished member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and former chief scientist at Shell, brings 36 years of invaluable industry expertise to his role on the committee. Recruited by the University of Houston in 2022 through a matching grant from the Texas Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI), Powell’s appointment underscores his ongoing commitment to advancing the energy transition and a net-zero future.

“The collaborative work of the ITIAC aligns seamlessly with the mission of the Energy Transition Institute at the University of Houston. Together, we will endeavor to drive impactful change in the realm of industrial decarbonization and pave the way for a sustainable future,” said Powell, regarding his appointment.

Established with a generous $10 million commitment from Shell USA Inc. and Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc., the Energy Transition Institute at UH focuses on three core areas: hydrogen, carbon management, and circular plastics. The institute collaborates closely with the University's Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute and researchers from various disciplines, as well as with external partners in academia and industry.

The overarching vision of the institute is to solidify the University of Houston’s position as a global leader in energy education and research, with a goal of positioning Houston as the “Energy Transition Capital of the World.” In pursuit of this vision, the institute is steadfast in its commitment to advancing initiatives related to circular plastics, decarbonization, and hydrogen, while simultaneously nurturing the workforce and leaders of tomorrow.

More information about the committee can be found on the DOE website.

Share This Story: