The greatest environmental threats to civilization include climate change, overuse of fertilizers, biodiversity loss, and deforestation. I use life cycle assessment, benefit-cost analysis, and other quantitative sustainability tools to help researchers, engineers, and advocates develop and market solutions to these problems. My passion for reducing the harmful environmental impacts of human systems has led to projects across many sectors, from bioenergy to water treatment to alternative proteins.
Over the past 10 years I have worked and studied with a variety of nonprofit and academic partners. My most recent work has focused on the environmental performance of foods. I conducted carbon, water, and land-use footprints of the entrees served at the COP24 UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland for partners at the Center for Biological Diversity, Farm Forward, and Brighter Green. As Senior Environmental Scientist at the Good Food Institute, I developed environmental policy and communications materials on impacts of animal agriculture and the potential benefits of plant-based meat and cellular agriculture.
As a postdoctoral scientist with the Air Force Institute of Technology and the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education, I developed models and reports to inform local and regional decision-making related to vehicle fleet management, air quality, and treatment of PFAS-contaminated groundwater. By comparing tradeoffs in energy and materials consumption, human health and safety, and greenhouse gas emissions, I empowered managers and scientists with the Department of Defense and other organizations better optimize for both human health and environmental goals.
In 2013, I graduated with a Ph.D. from Purdue University’s Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department through the Ecological Sciences and Engineering Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. My research, conducted at Purdue’s Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering and at Argonne National Laboratory, focused on the role of biomass storage and supply chains in assessing greenhouse gas emissions during biofuel production. My research led to updated in the GREET model of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants from fuels. GREET allows its thousands of users to compare the environmental performance of vehicle fuels. The EPA uses GREET to help determine the carbon footprint of fuels for the US Renewable Fuels Standard.
Prior to my graduate work, I earned a B.A. in Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology from Whitman College and worked to uncover some of the biochemical mechanisms of atherosclerosis as a Research Scientist at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Email: isaac.emery [at] gmail [dot] com