Venkat Viswanathan is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Viswanathan’s research focus is on identifying the scientific principles governing material design, inorganic, organic, and biomaterials, for novel energy conversion and storage routes. The material design is carried out through a suite of computational methods being developed in his group, and validated by experiments. Some key research thrusts include identifying principles of electrolytes design (organic material) that can tune electrode catalysis, identification of new anode, cathode (inorganic materials), and electrolyte materials for next generation batteries, and new electrocatalysts (inorganic) and biomaterials for energy storage and separation applications. In addition to material design, his group is involved in several cross-cutting areas such as battery controls, electric vehicle security, and GPU accelerated computing.
Viswanathan received the Sloan Research Fellowship in Chemistry in 2018, the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2016, the American Chemical Society PRF Young Investigator Award in 2014, and the Electrochemical Society Daniel Cubicciotti Award in 2010. He was a finalist for MIT TR Innovators Under 35 in 2014, and was an Electrochemical Society Herbert H. Uhligh Summer Fellow in 2009.
Energy Density in Batteries: Accelerating the Timeline
Electrolyte Technology: Batteries for Electric Vehicles
2013 Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
2008 BS, Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
Viswanathan predicts that electric pickups should hit primetime soon
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan predicts that electric pickups “should hit primetime over the next couple of years” now that battery costs have plunged.
Viswanathan receives Navy award for battery research
Venkat Viswanathan received a 2019 Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research to research how to improve battery safety in low temperatures.
Viswanathan discusses future of electric planes
A battery-powered plane would be quieter, cheaper, and cleaner than the current options. But for it to be feasible, batteries would need to be safer, pack in more energy, and discharge energy more quickly. MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan says that the kind of technological leap needed for an all-electric commercial plane will likely take decades.
Viswanathan on Audi e-tron battery
In a Quartz article, MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan discussed the discrepancy between the large battery size but low range of Audi’s first all-electric car, the new e-tron. According to Viswanathan’s calculations, “Something doesn’t add up.” He notes that because the e-tron is Audi’s first electric car, the company may be playing it safe while playing catch up to Tesla, who have had a head start in improving battery efficiency.
Eight faculty receive Scott Institute seed grants for energy research
The Scott Institute recently selected awardees from the College of Engineering for its seventh round of seed grants for energy research.
Seeding energy research
Three faculty members in the Department of Mechanical Engineering received Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation’s Seed Grants for Energy Research.
Viswanathan quoted on GBatteries’ revolutionary charging method
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in an Axios article about a newly unveiled battery and tech company, GBatteries, and their development of a faster way to charge lithium-ion batteries, which are used in electronic vehicles. Viswanathan says, “The main question is whether you can do that without degrading the battery pack.”
Viswanathan and Sripad co-author piece on two-wheeled EV’s
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan and Shashank Sripad recently co-authored a story on vehicle electrification in India for The Hindu.
Viswanathan discusses motivation behind Tesla acquisition
According to MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan in Quartz, ultracapacitors probably had little to do with motivating Tesla’s recent move to acquire ultracapacitor manufacturer Maxwell Technologies.
Machine learning to develop safer batteries
Safer batteries could be made with solid electrolytes, but analyzing the properties of thousands of materials would take years. Can machine learning help researchers speed up the process?
Viswanathan and team discuss electric aircraft research
A team lead by ECE’s Venkat Viswanathan authored an article in Smithsonian Magazine on their research on electric aircraft.