2015 Graduate Fellows

Manan Pathak

Most electric cars run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, a pricey technology that accounts for more than half of the vehicle’s total cost. The development of renewable, low cost, high performance energy technologies is a key scientific challenge. Active research is being pursued to develop a new technology that can replace Li ion batteries. One promising alternative is the lithium-sulfur battery, which can theoretically store five times more energy at a much lower cost. The major drawback of a lithium-sulfur battery is the polysulfide shuttling between anode and cathode, which induces low Coulombic efficiency, low utilization of the sulfur cathode, and severe degradation of cycle life  I plan to investigate and propose a first-principle electrochemical engineering model to understand the shuttling mechanism. The model would be validated with experiments and the ultimate goal would be to suppress the polysulfide shuttle which could ensure a longer battery life for the lithium-sulfur battery.
Advisor: Venkat Subramanian, Chemical Engineering

“Providing clean energy to the inhabitants of our planet is a major challenge to future generations. The University of Washington is to be congratulated for establishing an Institute where faculty and students can work together to tackle the difficult global challenge of energy sustainability.”
– Mildred Dresselhaus, Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, Emerita and Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Energy competition is opening up in a variety of ways, the push for carbon control will continue, and the rate of technology advancement is exponential. All the things I’ve seen at the CEI are just perfect for the way we see things going in energy. You guys are at the cutting edge. We’re counting on you.”
– Ronald Litzinger, President, Edison Energy