Speakers - Energy

The Diamond Jubilee Faculty Alumni Network (FAN) Symposium (US)

Date: Saturday, 13th October 2018




Prof. Manoj Neergat  - Convener

Department of Energy Science and Engineering
IIT Bombay

Educational Qualifications:

  • Ph.D: Indian Institute Science Bangalore (IISc)
  • M.Sc.: Calicut University
  • B. Sc.: Calicut University
  • Postdoc: Technical University Munich (TUM), Germany
  • Los Alamos National Lab (LANL), NM, USA.

Research Interests:

  • Electrochemical energy storage and conversion (materials, devices, performance and durability), Electrified interfaces.
  • Fuel cells - Direct Methanol Fuel cells, and Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells
  • Precious metal and Non-precious metal catalysts
  • Flow batteries
  • Supercapacitors
  • Electrochemistry of layered materials
  • Electrodeposition (CZTS and Cu)
  • Impedance and dielectric spectroscopy
  • Conducting polymer electrolyte membranes

Prof. Vinayak P. Dravid  - Co - Convener

Abraham Harris Chaired Professor
Department of Materials Science & Engineering,
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
Founding Director, NUANCE Center & SHyNE Resource
International Institute for Nanotechnology

Educational Qualifications: 

  • B.Tech: IIT Bombay
  • PhD: Lehigh University


Vinayak P. Dravid is Abraham Harris Chaired Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and the founding Director of Northwestern’s NUANCE (NU Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental) Center. He received his He joined Northwestern soon after, and has been on the faculty of materials science & engineering ever since.

Professor Dravid’s scholarly interests revolve around “imaging”, from atoms to animals and from arts to astronomy. He has a diverse research portfolio covering advanced microscopy, nanotechnology, technology strategy, energy policy and emerging educational paradigms. His Google analytics include: over 470+ archival journal publications, H-index of ~86, more than two dozen issued/pending patents. Some of his patents are licensed to start-up companies in nanotechnology, sensor/diagnostic systems.

Professor Dravid’s awards/honours include Fellowships to numerous societies such as: Royal Microscopical Society (RMS), American Physical Society (APS), American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), Materials Research Society (MRS), the Microscopy Society of America (MSA, inception class), and the American Ceramic Society (ACerS). He is the recipient of several noteworthy awards; the American Ceramic Society’s Robert L. Coble Award and with Japanese Ceramic Society’s Richard M. Fulrath Award, MSA’s Burton Medal, IBM’s Faculty Award, NSF’s Young Investigator Award. He is an honorary life-member of MRS India (MRSI), and Hsuen Lee fellow of the Chinese Academy of Science. He has been elected to Northwestern’s Faculty Honor Roll for several years for excellence in teaching.

As the founding director of Global McCormick, Professor Dravid has helped launch many global research and educational initiatives across Asia (e.g., India, Singapore), Europe (e.g., France, Germany), Africa (e.g., Egypt), S. America (e.g., Brazil, Argentina), among others.

Professor Dravid has served as advisor and consultant to metrology, energy/petrochemical companies, IP firms, the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, among others. He advises NGOs, professional society outreach programs, international organizations and private sector about science, technology and policy. One of his passions is to enhance societal and global appreciation for science and technology, especially of microscopy, materials science, nanotechnology, and energy/sustainability.

Dr. Pinakin Shah  - Panellist

President, P.S. Battery Tech Consulting

Educational Qualifications:
  • B.Tech. Chemical Engineering (1970).: IIT Bombay
  • M.S.Chemical Engineering (1972): Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Ph.D. Chemical Engineering (1975): Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Research Interests:

Design, development, and manufacture of advanced battery technologies (Lithium-ion, Lithium Metal Primary, Lead-Acid, and Nickel-Cadmium batteries) for various applications.

  1. Over 43 years of industrial experience with various primary and rechargeable battery systems
  2. Extensive “hands-on” experience in developing, optimizing, and producing reliable primary and rechargeable battery products, problem solving, technology transfer, and technical marketing
  3. Effectively provided reliable batteries to government, medical, industrial, consumer, and aerospace customers

Worked with Honeywell Inc., General Electric Company, Standard Batteries Limited (Mumbai), Duracell USA, Alliant Techsystems Inc., Mine Safety Appliances Co., and Teledyne Energy Systems Inc. Currently professionally engaged as an independent consultant.


Consulting on all aspects of advanced battery technologies, particularly development and manufacture of lithium-ion systems, utilizing over 43 years of my experience in industry. Highly skilled technical manager with sound business sense. Extensive experience in development and production of primary & rechargeable battery technologies, materials processing and equipment, testing & qualification, problem solving, technology transfer, and applications engineering. Strong customer focus; worked with government, aerospace, medical, and industrial customers.

Shankar Ramamurthy - Panellist

Co-founder & CEO, Energy Harbors Corporation, Inc.

Educational Qualifications:

  • B. Tech. - Mechanical Engineering, IIT Bombay
  • MBA, IIM Bangalore

2018 to Present: Cofounder & CEO, Energy Harbors Corporation, Inc.

EHC provides software + hardware solution to utilize geo-cavities like defunct oil/gas wells and salt mines for large scale compressed air storage, with known and proven equipment and processes, such as, hydro pump-turbines and management of air solubility in water at high pressures. EHC’s intelligent software control plane, called software defined machines, manages disparate equipment and systems, to optimize costs, performance and availability. EHC and its ecosystem hardware and system integration partners are in pilots with some leading oil-gas and energy providers to deliver highly Renewable, Available, Inexpensive and Distributed energy for consumers.

2012 to Present: Founder & Exec Chairman, Virtual Power Systems, Inc.

VPS provides software + hardware solution to help data centers utilize a smaller power infrastructure footprint to efficiently provision power for peaks, unexpected demand and power circuit failures and maintenance. Utilizing advanced battery and high-speed power switching, with its software defined power, a data center control plane, power is distributed to all workloads at the highest level of availability and at a fraction of costs. VPS is delivering power virtualization solutions to some of the largest data centers in the world, with its power and IT hardware partners.

 1993 to 2012: Cofounder/CEO and Board member on different software companies

Founded and operated a number of software companies, in enterprise software (Epiance), machine learning (Social Engines), training software (Guru) and software development outsourcing (Esseven).

1982-1992: Operations Management and Strategy Consulting, Corporate India

As strategy consultant with Deloitte Consulting, operations head at NIIT and head of corporate strategy at Wipro.


Entrepreneur-executive helping companies realize the full potential of renewable energy, water and materials through software defined machines and power.


Arun Majumdar  - Panellist

Co-Director of Precourt Institute for Energy
Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Photon Science

Educational Qualifications:

  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering (1989)
  • MS, University of California, Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering (1987)
  • BTech, Indian Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering (1985)


Dr. Majumdar's research in the past has involved the science and engineering of nanoscale materials and devices, especially in the areas of energy conversion, transport and storage as well as biomolecular analysis. His current research focuses on using electrochemical reactions for thermal energy conversion, thermochemical redox reactions, understanding the limits of heat transport in nanostructured materials and a new effort to re-engineer the electricity grid.

Awards / Recognitions:

  • Fellow, Indian National Academy of Engineering (2014)
  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013)
  • Aurel Stodola Medal and Lecture, ETH Zurich (2010)
  • Heat Transfer Memorial Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2006)
  • Member, United States National Academy of Engineering (2005)
  • Miller Professorship, University of California, Berkeley (2003-2004)
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (2003)
  • Fellow, American American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2002)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2002)
  • Gustus Larson Memorial Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2001)