Bio of Joseph Romm, Ph.D

02/25/2004 |

Dr. Joseph Romm is a leading expert on hydrogen, fuel cells, and advanced transportation technologies.  He is author of the forthcoming primer, The Hype About Hydrogen:  Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate.  Romm is the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation project, “Future Directions for Hydrogen Energy Research and Education.”


Romm was Acting Assistant Secretary at DOE's billion-dollar Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy during 1997 and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from 1995 though 1998.  In that capacity, he helped manage the largest program in the world for helping businesses develop and use advanced energy technologies and to begin the transition to a hydrogen economy.

 The Office is the lead federal agency for developing technologies for hydrogen production and storage, PEM fuel cells, hybrid vehicles and other advanced transportation technologies, cogeneration, wind, photovoltaics, and other renewables.  The Office is also the lead federal agency for accelerating the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles.  Romm was in charge of technology and market analysis for the office.  Romm helped lead formulation of the Administration's climate change technology strategy.  Romm helped launch the program’s multi-million dollar efforts on stationary PEM fuel cell applications. 

Romm is a principal with Capital E, a premier provider of strategic consulting, technology assessment, and sustainable design services for fuel cells and other clean energy technologies (  Romm is also executive director and founder of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions—a one‑stop shop helping businesses and states adopt high-leverage strategies for saving energy and cutting pollution ( 

 Romm has co-authored some of the first energy and environmental analyses of fuel cells in buildings.  He oversaw the first DOE analysis of the role PEM fuel cells could play in saving energy and reducing emissions in buildings.  He co-authored one of the first peer-reviewed articles to compare fuel cells with other micro-cogeneration technologies in commercial buildings and one of the first articles to examine the energy savings from co-generating fuel cells in residential buildings.  Romm performed the first environmental analysis of a system integrating cogenerating fuel cells, fly wheels, and power electronics aimed at achieving very high-availability power. Romm consults with businesses such as IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Collins Pine, Nike, Timberland, Texaco, and Lockheed-Martin on energy technology and environmental strategy.  He is author of the first book to benchmark corporate best practices for using advanced energy technologies including fuel cells to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:  Cool Companies: How the Best Businesses Boost Profits and Productivity By Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Romm holds a Ph.D. in physics from M.I.T.  He has written and lectured widely on advanced transportation technologies, hydrogen, fuel cells, distributed energy, business and environment issues, including articles in Technology Review, Forbes, Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Washington Post, Science magazine, and The Industry Standard.  He is co-author with Charles Curtis of "MidEast Oil Forever," the cover story of the April 1996 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, which predicted that the major oil-exporting nations would regain pricing control of oil within the decade and discussed alternative energy strategies.  Romm is widely quoted in the media on energy technology matters, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune magazine, Time, Newsweek, Business Week, NBC Evening News, and NPR.
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS BOOKSThe Hype About Hydrogen:  Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate (Washington, DC:  Island Press, March 2004)Cool Companies:  How the Best Businesses Boost Profits and Productivity By Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions (New York:  Island Press, May 1999).Lean and Clean Management (New York: Kodansha, 1994). 


The Internet Economy and Global Warming, Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, December 1999.

“Greenhouse gas analysis of the Sure Power System at the First National Bank of Omaha,” Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, June 1, 1999.



“The Internet and the New Energy Economy,” Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Special Issue on information technology and resource use, Vol. 36 (2002), 197-210."Technologies to Reduce U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions by 2010,” (with Rosenfeld and Kaarsberg), Physics Today, November 2000. "Combined Heat and Power for Saving Energy and Carbon in Residential Buildings," (with Kaarsberg, Fiskum, Deppe, Gielen, Kumar, and Rosenfeld), Proceedings of the 2000 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Pacific Grove, CA, August 2000. “Combined Heat and Power for Saving Energy and Carbon in Buildings” (with Kaarsberg, Koomey, Rosenfeld, and Teagen), Proceedings of the 1998 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Pacific Grove, CA, August 1998."The Outlook for Small-scale Combined Heat and Power in the U.S.," (witth Kaarsberg, Bluestein, and Rosenfeld), CADDET Energy Efficiency Newsletter, pp. 11-13, June 1998."Cool Communities:  Strategies for Heat Island Mitigation and Smog Reduction," (with Rosenfeld, Akbari, and Pomerantz), Energy and Buildings 28, 1998, pp. 51–62."A Roadmap for U.S. Carbon Reductions" (with Levine, Brown, and Petersen), Science, January 30, 1998."Painting the Town White and Green" (with Rosenfeld, Akbari, and Lloyd), Technology Review, February/March 1997.“Mideast Oil Forever” (with Charles Curtis), Atlantic, April 1996.“Increasing Productivity Through Energy-Efficient Design,” Building Performance and Worker Productivity Issues in Research and Practice, Proceedings of a Colloquium, March 1, 1996, National Research Council.

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