Carnegie Mellon University

Scott Institute Announces New Class of Energy Fellows

September 13, 2022

Scott Institute Announces New Class of Energy Fellows

By Kristen Whitlinger

We are pleased to announce the new Energy Fellow class for 2022: Akshaya Jha, Valerie Karplus, Shawn Litster and Katie Whitefoot. The Scott Institute Energy Fellows Program incentivizes, promotes and rewards Carnegie Mellon University's most dedicated tenure track energy faculty. Each fellow receives yearly funding and resources from the Scott Institute.

Akshaya Jha
Akshaya Jha is an assistant professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University's H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management and by courtesy, Tepper School of Business. Jha’s research interests lie at the intersection of energy and environmental economics and industrial organization. His research uses a combination of economic modeling and causal inference techniques to quantify the economic and environmental costs and benefits of a wide range of policies impacting wholesale electricity supply.  In recent work, he has examined the introduction of financial trading to California’s wholesale electricity market, the phase-out of nuclear power in Germany, the dramatic growth of rooftop solar capacity in Western Australia, and the determinants of electricity blackouts in India.

Valerie Karplus
Valerie J. Karplus is an Associate Professor in the department of Engineering and Public Policy.

 Karplus studies resource and environmental management in organizations operating in diverse national and industry contexts, with a focus on the role of institutions and management practices in explaining performance. Areas of expertise include regional approaches to low carbon transition, decarbonization of global corporate supply chains, and the integrated design and evaluation of energy, air quality, and climate policies. Karplus has taught courses on public policy analysis, global business strategy and organization, entrepreneurship, and the political economy of energy transitions. At CMU, she runs the Laboratory for Energy and Organizations at the CMU Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. Karplus is an affiliate of the Scott Energy Institute. She previously served on the faculty at the MIT Sloan School of Management. From 2011-2016, she directed the MIT-Tsinghua China Energy and Climate Project.

Shawn Litster
Professor Litster’s research focuses on sustainable energy conversion technologies that leverage nano- and micro-scale transport phenomena for enhanced performance and new functionality. He is particularly interested in research that combines electrochemistry and electrokinetics with the mechanical engineering fundamentals of fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, and design. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is poised to become an important bridge between sustainable energy resources and end-user services (i.e. transportation). Litster’s research addresses technical obstacles to wide-spread adoption of fuel cells, such as effectively utilizing the costly platinum catalyst used in the electrodes. Unique capabilities in his group include microstructured electrode scaffold diagnostics, which have enabled the first through-plane potential measurements through the thickness of operating fuel cell and aqueous battery electrodes. These measurements assist researchers in pinpointing the loss the mechanisms that reduce energy conversion efficiency as well as assist in elucidating fundamental phenomena. These experimental methods are combined with advanced computational models of the micro-/nano-scale phenomena to identify directions for future material and device development.

Katie Whitefoot
Katie S. Whitefoot is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a member of the NextManufacturing Center for additive manufacturing research and a Faculty Affiliate at the Carnegie Mellon Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. Prior to her current position, she served as a Senior Program Officer and the Robert A. Pritzker fellow at the National Academy of Engineering where she directed the Academy’s Manufacturing, Design, and Innovation program. 
Whitefoot’s research informs the design and manufacture of energy efficient and low-carbon products and processes for improved adoption in the marketplace. Her areas of expertise include vehicle fuel efficiency, consumer choice, design and adoption of green products, energy-efficient and productive manufacturing, and energy and environmental policies.