Shale Gas: A Game Changer for American Manufacturing

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University of Michigan Energy Institute

A country is only as strong as its capacity to build. Managed properly, the availability of low-cost shale gas could catalyze a renaissance in U.S. manufacturing, revitalizing the chemical industry and enhancing the global competitiveness of energy-intensive manufacturing sectors such as aluminum, steel, paper, glass, and food. This report summarizes and expands upon the University of Michigan-sponsored daylong Symposium “Shale Gas: A Game-Changer for American Manufacturing,” held on March 28, 2014 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Symposium’s purpose: to explore how the shale gas boom can be used to the best advantage of U.S. manufacturing.

Symposium attendees, including representatives from U.S. manufacturers, environmental groups, the Department of Energy, and the University of Michigan, explored how manufacturers could benefit from the shale gas boom while taking into account important environmental, market, infrastructure, and workforce realities. Symposium participants were energized by the manufacturing revitalization promised by the shale gas boom, eager to discuss environmental pitfalls and solutions, and interested in the intersection of policy, prosperity, and responsibility.   

An interdisciplinary team of U-M researchers and policy experts analyzed the information from the symposium and from numerous publicly available sources. Summarized are our recommendations aimed at fueling the growth of U.S. manufacturing through responsible and sustainable production and utilization of shale gas. Read the full report here