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

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

Media mentions


Viswanathan quoted on sustainable aviation

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in Bloomberg on France’s push to make aviation more sustainable.

Viswanathan mentioned on EV prices

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was mentioned on about the prices of electric vehicles.

CMU Engineering

AI-fueled batteries

A team of CMU mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering researchers are using AI to optimize battery electrolyte designs, and they found new electrolytes that researchers hadn’t thought of.

Multiple outlets

Viswanathan quoted on battery breakthrough

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in multiple outlets—including Fortune, Wired, MIT Technology Review, The Verge, and The Mobilist—on a new breakthrough in battery technology.

Bloomberg Green

Viswanathan interviewed about batteries

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was interviewed by Bloomberg Green on batteries for electric cars and airplanes.

CMU Engineering

The surprising strength of liquid crystals

In the quest for safer and longer-lasting batteries for electric cars, trucks, and planes, researchers explore a new class of materials to suppress the formation of dendrites.

Financial Times

Viswanathan quoted on batteries

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in the Financial Times on batteries.

Mechanical Engineering

Viswanathan named an Innovator Under 35

Venkat Viswanathan has been named one of MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35, recognized for his work to develop a new type of battery that could make electric vehicles cheaper and more energy efficient.

Clean Technica

Viswanathan quoted on batteries

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in Clean Technica on soft solid electrolytes in batteries.

The Conversation

Viswanathan published on electric vehicle batteries

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan and Ph.D. students Alexander Bills and Shashank Sripad published an article in The Conversation on their electric vehicle battery research.


Viswanathan on autonomous, electric cars

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan spoke with Bloomberg about the current debate between the two most prominent technologies in the car industry: autonomous driving and electric cars. “We’re getting to a point where we won’t need to choose between autonomous driving and electric cars,” he said.

CMU Engineering

The electric future of autonomous vehicles

A team of CMU Engineering researchers has shown that autonomous vehicles can be electric—despite the decreased driving range.