Carnegie Mellon University
January 01, 2017

Prof. Venkat gives EST&P students opportunities in his Electrochemical Engineering research group

Venkat Viswanathan, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at CMU. His research interests lies in energy storage, specifically advanced lithium-ion batteries. He was recently awarded the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2016.

In an interview with the Scott Institute, he talks about how Moore’s Law has governed the semiconductor industry but a similar timeline of innovation is absent with the energy storage market. This is why his research focuses on identifying new battery designs and applications that can disrupt the storage industry of the future, particularly with the electric vehicle market.

Some of our EST&P students have been working with Professor Venkat as part of his Electrochemical Engineering research group. One of them is Yoolhee Kim, an Applied Studies student who has been working with Professor Venkat since the beginning of her MS degree studies. Her research topic involves investigating potassium-air batteries, and the role of magnetism and disorder in tuning the electrochemical properties of the discharge product in these batteries. This battery is around triple the density of current lithium ion batteries, which would mean potentially longer driving ranges for electric vehicles.

Another student working with Professor Venkat is Mikael Matossian. He is conducting a life cycle assessment on the lithium air battery, as part of NASA's "Convergent Aeronautics Solutions" initiative that aims to explore new energy technologies for aircraft. He is attempting to quantify the carbon emissions associated with each step of the battery's life cycle, from material procurement to end-of-life disposal and recycling. The project aims to justify the battery's sustainable nature and eventual use for small aircrafts.

With our students doing pioneering work, it is of no wonder that Professor Venkat loves working with them. He admires the quality of work and insight that our EST&P students bring into his research group. As the storage industry becomes more crucial in our pursuit for clean energy applications, we are extremely proud of Professor Venkat and our students in contributing to the disruption of this market.