Venkat Viswanathan is an associate 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 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2019, 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.

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Venkat Viswanathan
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Venkat Viswanathan’s Website

Developing the Battery Data Genome

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

The Sustainability Story of Batteries in Vehicles

Media mentions

CMU Engineering

Forbes includes three CMU alumni in 30 Under 30 in Energy

Olivia Dippo, Peter McHale, and Shashank Sripad were listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 in Energy for their groundbreaking startup companies.

Zero Podcast

Viswanathan speaks on Zero podcast about electric aviation

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan spoke on Zero podcast about electric aviation. During the episode, he and host Akshat Rathi talk about the batteries required to power these aircrafts as well as the environmental impact they will have.

The Guardian

Viswanathan’s research on battery-power aircraft referenced in The Guardian

Research by MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan on the future of battery-powered aircraft was referenced in an article from The Guardian about Australia, a country heavily reliant on aviation. Viswanathan’s research detailed the opportunities and challenges of electric aircraft, concluding that significant gains for battery-powered flight are possible by 2030 given sufficient investment in aeronautical applications.

Popular Science

Viswanathan discusses AI enabling autonomous experimentation

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in Popular Science on machine learning systems “Dragonfly” and “Clio.”

CMU Engineering

Engineering faculty featured in events at GCEAF

Many faculty from across the College of Engineering will be featured at events during this year’s Global Clean Energy Action Forum.


Viswanathan offers advice to climate tech startups

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan shared expert advice in GreenBiz on how climate tech startup founders can approach investors as the market shifts.

Washington Post

Viswanathan quoted on rechargeable batteries

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in the Washington Post for his expertise on rechargeable batteries and why they sometimes expand in size.


Viswanathan quoted on electric planes

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted by WIRED on batteries for electric planes

CMU Engineering

Research on eVTOL aircraft takes flight

Mechanical Engineering researchers are exploring the potential of rechargeable batteries in electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which could transform transportation in metropolitan areas and battle emissions, congestion, and air pollution.


Viswanathan and Sripad eVTOL research featured

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan and Shashank Sripad were featured in Forbes for their research on eVTOLS.

Torque News

Viswanathan quoted on solid state batteries

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in Torque News on solid-states batteries, created by QuantumScape.


Viswanathan announces work on optimization

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was mentioned by Aionics, where he is a chief scientist, about his new work on using robotics and machine learning for the efficient optimization of a non-aqueous battery electrolyte.