People

Faculty

Ashok Gadgil

Professor Ashok Gadgil

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Dr. Gadgil is Faculty Senior Scientist at LBNL and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCB. Dr. Gadgil holds a Ph.D. in Physics from UCB and an M.Sc. in Physics from IIT/Kanpur. He has won numerous awards and honors for his inventions, including the Heinz Award for the Environment (2009), “Sustainability Pioneer Award” from SAG/SAM of Zurich (2010), The European Inventor Award, and the NCIIA Lifetime Award for teaching innovation (both 2011), and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, and the Lemelson-MIT Global Innovation Award (both 2012). He specializes in heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and design for development. He also has substantial experience in technical, economic, and policy research on energy efficiency and its implementation – particularly in developing countries. He has several inventions in the realm of sustainable development, including the Berkeley-Darfur Stove (which is being deployed in Darfur by the nonprofit Potential Energy) and “UV Waterworks,” a technology to inexpensively disinfect drinking water in the developing countries.  Click on his photo at the left to view more information.

Project and Research Scientists

 

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Dr. Vi Rapp

Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Dr. Vi Rapp is a Research Scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She is currently conducting research on developing advanced biomass cookstoves for the developing world, improving combustion safety diagnostics for energy efficient homes, and investigating efficient, low emissions technologies for combustion appliances and small engine applications. She holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley with a focus on combustion and received her M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah. During her Ph.D., she investigated novel techniques for improving engine efficiency and reducing emissions of advanced internal combustion engines. Her research included investigating a hydrogen-oxygen-argon internal combustion engine and alternative fuels in homogenous charged compression ignition (HCCI) engines. Prior to starting her Ph.D., she was a Thermal and Stress Analysis Engineer at Moog Aircraft Group where she conducted finite element analysis on primary flight control actuators for the Boeing 787 and other commercial aircraft.

Dr. Rapp’s publications are here

E-mail: vhrapp@lbl.gov

Postdoctoral Researchers

Heather Buckley

Dr. Heather Buckley

ITRI-Rosenfeld Postdoctoral Fellow, Energy Technologies Area, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Heather Buckley earned her PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of California Berkeley. Her graduate work focused on the development of non-platinum biomimetic catalysts for fuel cells and the preparation and characterization of a new class of early transition metal complexes.  Her prior postdoctoral research at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry involved the development of inherently safer building materials for low-income housing in India.  In the Gadgil group, she is researching the use of minimally processed bauxite ores to mediate excess fluoride in groundwater and make it safe for drinking.

E-mail: hbuckley@berkeley.edu

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Dr. Chinmayee Subban

ITRI-Rosenfeld Postdoctoral Fellow, Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Chinmayee Subban earned her PhD from Cornell University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Her prior work focused on the design and characterization of electrode materials for fuels cells and lithium-ion batteries. In the Gadgil group, she is working to develop efficient electrode materials for Capacative Deionization (CDI) technology, with the goal of treating widespread brackish water sources in the developing world.

E-mail: CVSubban@lbl.gov

 

Travis Walter

Dr. Travis Walter

Senior Scientific Engineering Associate, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Travis Walter earned his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on energy efficiency in buildings. He develops statistical models for predicting building energy use based on limited data, with an emphasis on quantifying the uncertainty in the predictions. He uses the models to identify cost effective opportunities for equipment retrofits and other energy conservation measures, and for establishing weather-normalized energy baselines for measurement and verification purposes.

Travis Walter’s publications are here.

Email: twalter@lbl.gov

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Dr. Daniel Wilson

Postdoctoral Fellow, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Daniel (Danny) Wilson’s research focuses on biomass combustion in the developing world.  Today roughly three billion people will eat food cooked over high-emissions biomass fires.  This practice causes two million deaths annually, mostly of women and children, and contributes significantly to climate change.  I work on reducing the impact of biomass fires by designing high-efficiency biomass cookstoves as well as helping to quantify the climate impact of cooking by measuring the distribution of black carbon soot in the atmosphere using novel sensors affixed to high-altitude balloons.

Graduate Students

Siva Rama Satyam Bandaru

Ph.D. Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering

I’m interested in the development and implementation of Electro Chemical Arsenic Remediation (ECAR), a low cost robust technology to address groundwater arsenic contamination in rural South Asia and California. My current research focuses on  understanding the behavior of iron plates (electrodes) during long term electrocoagulation processes and developing alternate techniques to further increase the lifetime of iron electrodes. Previously I worked on the design, fabrication, and piloting of an electrocoagulation system (ECAR 600L prototype)  at a rural school in India.

Email: sivaram.satyam@berkeley.edu

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Julien Caubel

Ph.D. Candidate, Mechanical Engineering 

Half of the world’s population relies on inefficient, highly polluting biomass stoves for residential cooking. Emissions from these biomass cookstoves are the world’s greatest environmental health risk, killing nearly 4 million people annually. My research focuses on the development of advanced cookstoves that improve biomass combustion to increase fuel efficiency and reduce the production of harmful emissions. In addition, I am developing low cost sensors to measure and monitor black carbon (soot) emissions from biomass cookstoves, providing the air quality data necessary to validate and understand the impact of clean cookstove technologies in the developing world.

Email: jcaubel@berkeley.edu

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Katya Cherukumilli

PhD Candidate, Environmental Engineering

Over 200 million people worldwide drink water with toxic levels of fluoride surpassing WHO’s permissible limit of 1.5 mg/L and are at risk of developing dental and skeletal fluorosis. I am investigating the use of bauxite as a potential technology for removal of excess fluoride from groundwater in fluorosis-affected regions of Nalgonda District, India. During an explorative field visit, I collected data on water quality and local levels of endemic fluorosis in Nalgonda by collaborating with schools, governmental organizations, and NGOs in Telangana. The ultimate goal of my research is to find a more sustainable alternative to other existing methods currently being used worldwide including bone char, reverse osmosis, and activated alumina.

Email: katyach@berkeley.edu

 

Sara Glade

Sara Glade

Ph.D. Student, Environmental Engineering

Nitrate contamination of groundwater due to agricultural influxes puts many small, rural, and economically disadvantaged communities at risk of devastating health problems. Currently no affordable, appropriate treatment options exist at small scale for these communities. My research is focused on better understanding the potential of electrochemical methods to meet this need. Ultimately I hope to improve upon existing technologies to increase access to safe water worldwide.

E-mail: saraglade@berkeley.edu

Lukas Hackl

Ph.D. Student, Environmental Engineering

I received my Master’s in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Micro- and Nanosystems Technologies from the Federal Swiss Institute (ETH) in Zurich. As a member of the Gadgil group my research is now focused on developing a robust and scalable advanced CDI technology for the treatment of brackish ground water in developing countries.

E-mail: l.hackl@berkeley.edu

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Dana Hernandez

Ph.D. Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering

In my research, I am confirming the capability of Fe-EC to remove viruses in a realistic groundwater composed of varying concentration of bivalent cations, oxyanions, and NOM. My second aim is to determine the optimal conditions for virus attenuation by varying EC parameters of relevance, also studying the interaction between a model virus and iron oxides in realistic groundwater. Ultimately, my study has broad ranging societal impacts, with the potential to improve the robustness of ECAR, a low-cost treatment solution for groundwater contamination of arsenic and viruses in South Asia, resulting in an increased access to safe drinking water worldwide.

E-mail: danaah@berkeley.edu

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Samantha Hing

Ph.D. Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
I received my Bachelor’s in Chemistry and Atmospheric Science from the University of Washington. As a PhD student in Environmental Engineering in the Gadgil lab, my mission is to research technologies to reduce emissions and wood-fuel use in biomass cookstoves used in developing nations.

E-mail:snhing@berkeley.edu

Adam Rausch

Adam Rausch

Ph.D. Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Worldwide, more than a billion people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. Certainly, solving such problems often requires new technology, as limited infrastructure and financial limitations can effectively exclude existing developed-world solutions. When necessary, however, new technology is often not sufficient to provide sustained relief. Indeed, even mature technologies frequently fail in these settings. Therefore, it is crucial that we come to understand both technical and non-technical factors for such efforts. My current research includes developing capacitive deionization to treat high-TDS water common in underground sources, as well as analyzing comparative case studies on the sustainability of infrastructure projects in rural Maharashtra.

E-mail: insearchofthekey at gmail.com

 

 

Staff and Field Associates

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Prasenjit Paul

Engineering Fellow, ECAR team

Over 137 million people worldwide & 70 million people in rural Bangladesh, West Bengal and Bihar drink groundwater contaminated with arsenic. During my masters Programme in Environmental Engineering from IIT Kanpur, I got a keen interest in Solving this mass poisoning arsenic problem. My work in IIT Kanpur involved developing a cost-effective arsenic removal filter for rural India. Gadgil lab has chossen me as Associate Project specialist & I have joined ECAR team shortly after my graduation in July, 2016. ECAR project is a great exposure for me to know different practical aspects of arsenic problem along with developing and improving different technical aspects of the Dhapdhapi ECAR plant and ultimately ensure to build a sustainable, locally affordable, cost-efficient arsenic free water supply model which can be replicated in all Arsenic-affected areas.

E-mail: paulprasenjit21@gmail.com

Kate Boden

Research and Development Engineer

I graduated from UC Berkeley in fall of 2015 with a degree in physics. My interest now is to apply physics problem-solving methods to the challenges facing the modern world, in particular energy usage. At the Gadgil lab I work on the efficiency of the electrochemical arsenic remediation (ECAR) reactor. More specifically I run and analyze experiments on the parameters impacting iron concentration levels, with the goal of understanding and improving the efficiency of large-scale reactors in the field.

Allen Boltz

B.A. Chemistry, Secondary Science Education, Math for America Fellow

I am a high school chemistry and forensic science teacher at Berkeley High School and have enjoyed three summers of working on the stove projects.  I am beginning a 5-year fellowship program this year with Math for America at UC Berkeley and will continue to develop lesson plans incorporating stove research and development into high school curriculum to add relevance and real world applications to the students’ science experience.

Undergrads and Interns

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Andrew Kyong

Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering
I’m Andrew Kyong, a 2nd year mechanical engineering student at UC Berkeley and I am deeply passionate about researching and renewable energy and sustainable solutions to the world’s energy and resource needs!  At the Gadgil Lab, I’m currently working as a technical writer who helps get others excited about the work being done at Gadgil Lab by translating research articles into accessible summaries.

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Yash Mehta

Junior, Mechanical Engineering & Material Science Joint Major 

Fluoride is an tasteless and odorless contaminant in water, which if present in high concentrations leads to crippling diseases like dental and skeletal fluorosis. I am working on developing and implementing a system for removing excess fluoride from groundwater in rural villages of India. In general, I am interested in manufacturing, product design, consumer electronics and optimization techniques.

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Nusrat Molla

Senior, Civil and Environmental Engineering
I am a senior studying Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley. I am currently working on understanding how common anions in groundwater may compete with fluoride for adsorption on bauxite, which will help in determining the feasibility of using adsorption onto bauxite as a method for removing excess fluoride in groundwater. In general, I am interested in how technical knowledge can be used to address issues of environmental injustice and poverty, and hope to pursue a Ph.D that allows me study such issues.

Bidisha

Bidisha Roy

Senior, Chemical Engineering Major 

I am currently a senior undergraduate at UC Berkeley, studying chemical engineering. I am interested in applying my technical background to addressing issues related to climate change and sustainability, especially in the developing world. In the Gadgil Lab, I am assisting to research efficient electrode materials for the development of capacitive deionization technology.

 

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Jody Strait

Junior, Environmental Sciences

As an Environmental Sciences major, as well as a Public Policy and Journalism minor at UC Berkeley, I am particularly interested in publicizing scientific information and promoting scientific literacy: for business leaders, for government officials, and for citizens at large. As a science writer with Gadgil lab, I work to increase public awareness of clean energy and water technology and foster new applications for the lab‘s unique developments in this field through publication.

 

Project and Research Scientists

Susan Amrose

Dr. Susan Amrose

Assistant Project Scientist and Lecturer, Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept, UC Berkeley

My doctoral research focused on developing, lab-testing, and field-testing ElectroChemical Arsenic Remediation (ECAR) as a locally affordable technology system to remove arsenic from groundwater in rural South Asia. Since receiving my PhD in 2008, I have continued to develop ECAR technology through larger prototypes and longer field trials while working to engage industrial partners for commercialization and scaling. I supervise ongoing water research projects on fluoride removal and capacitive deionization. I teach a graduate level team-based course called Design for Sustainable Communities based on the commercialization and implementation of sustainable technology systems (i.e. the technology plus the systems required to support the technology) in resource-poor regions.

E-mail: samrose@berkeley.edu

Post-docs

Dr. Yungang (Carl) Wang

Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Associate Editor, Energy for Sustainable Development

Dr. Wang’s current research interest is primarily in the field of designing and testing biomass cookstoves for the bottom of the pyramid. He is now leading a recent effort that designs and tests an inexpensive, fuel-efficient and super low-emissions biomass cookstove for Darfur at LBNL cookstove testing facility. His prior research focuses on particles in the air: how they form, how to sample and analyze them; what their composition is; and where they come from. Dr. Wang has authored over 30 peer reviewed publications and served as a reviewer for 17 top journals in the fields of atmospheric science, sustainable energy development, and environmental heath. Dr. Wang holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University, a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Texas A&M University, Kingsville, and a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Tsinghua University. In the non-professional life, he loves to play sports and travel.

Dr. Wang’s journal publications are here

E-mail: yungangwang@lbl.gov

Former PhD Students

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Caroline Delaire

Ph.D., Environmental Engineering

My environmental engineering research focuses on concurrent removal of arsenic and pathogens from drinking water using iron electrocoagulation (Fe-EC). Specifically, I’m exploring the mechanisms by which bacteria and viruses are removed from groundwater by Fe-EC, and the effect of water chemistry on these processes. In addition, I’m interested in the behavior change challenges that may come with the introduction of a new arsenic remediation technology in West Bengal, India. I’m planning to conduct field work to investigate the drivers and barriers to safe water consumption and purchasing in the region.

E-mail: caroline.delaire@orange.fr

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Jennifer Jones

Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering

My research is modeling the heat transfer, fluid mechanics, pyrolysis, and combustion processes in a biomass cookstove.

 

Kathleen Lask

Kathleen Lask

Ph.D., Applied Science & Technology, Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering

Approximately 3 billion people world-wide cook on biomass stoves, which are often highly polluting.  My research focuses on the designing low emission biomass cookstoves and understanding the combustion processes occurring within them. Specifically, I am utilizing laser diagnostic techniques to identify the mechanisms responsible for emission reductions in cookstoves.

Email: klask@berkeley.edu

Johanna Mathieu

Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering

Johanna Mathieu completed her PhD in Mechanical Engineering in May 2012.  Her dissertation focused on Demand Response (DR) – controlling buildings and appliances in ways that help the electricity grid and allow the integration of wind and solar power.  She is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Power Systems Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) where she works on DR, energy storage, and electricity grid security, using tools from modeling, controls, and optimization.  She is also exploring how some of  these ‘smart grid’ concepts could be applied in developing countries.  Her master’s project, also in the Gadgil Lab, focused on characterizing the performance of an arsenic remediation technology — ARUBA: Arsenic Removal Using Bottom Ash, developed by Prof. Gadgil — in Bangladesh.

Case van Genuchten

Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering

My work involves developing an arsenic-removal technology for rural South Asia, where millions of people drink arsenic-contaminated groundwater every day.  Specifically, my research focuses on understanding the influence of common groundwater ions (phosphate, silicate, calcium, magnesium) on the structure and reactivity of iron (oxyhydr)oxide precipitates generated during the electrochemical oxidative dissolution of Fe(0) electrodes.

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Hanna M. Breunig

Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering
Senior Scientific Engineering Associate, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Decisions made in the early development stages of an emerging technology greatly impact the success of an environmental technology once implemented. My research explores new methods for modeling emerging technologies and their local and regional scale environmental and human health impacts;.

I have been the teaching assistant at Cornell University and at UC Berkeley for the following courses: Renewable Energy Systems; Environmental Engineering.

Email: hannabreunig@lbl.gov

Marc Muller

Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering (joint with Sally Thompson and Slav Hermanovicz)

I am interested in integrating micro hydropower turbines in piped water supply  systems in the hills and mountains of developing countries. Recovering the otherwise dissipated energy of pressurized water would allow the decentralized generation of electricity within the communities. Under favorable conditions, such a multi-use approach increases the ability to generate income from infrastructure, which increases its financial sustainability. Using GIS, I am developing tools to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the concept at a large scale through spatial analyses and the development of hydrologic, economic and cost assessment models. Although my work is currently centered on Nepal, using global and freely available remote sensing data and open source software will hopefully allow these tools to be used globally to inform rural water infrastructure policy

Staff and Field Associates

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Pavitra Sharma

Associate Project Specialist

My work involved helping with the design of the scaled-up ECAR system in collaboration with experts and running tests of the system to verify the system is working properly. My work focused on selection of arsenic affected site in West Bengal (India) based on techno-socio-economic parameters for installation of scaled-up ECAR prototype (10,000 L per day), order and coordinate delivery and installation of the components at selected site. I represented ECAR project to the community, maintained two-way communication, built demand for clean water, led education seminars about arsenic and addressed community concerns. I have done post graduation in Technology and development (Centre for Technology Alternative for Rural Areas) from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB). I have also worked with an environmental consultancy. There my work included human and social capital externalities evaluation & modelling and analysis of green economy initiatives and sustainable development policies.

Laura Chimelski

Research Associate

My work involved the adaptation of ElectroChemical Arsenic Remediation (ECAR) for the needs of rural California and US communities with arsenic contaminated groundwater. I have conducted field trials in order to assess the 100 L ECAR prototype’s performance in real California groundwater, with promising results. I have also worked on prototype design so that it fits within small US water systems, which require continuous flow in addition to greater output and lower operator demands than their South Asian counterparts.

E-mail: laurachimelski@gmail.com

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Sreeman Mypati

Associate Technical Specialist

My research focused on conducting a large-scale field trial of ECAR arsenic remediation technology in West Bengal. This entailed (but was not limited to) working with engineers from Luminous Water Technologies Ltd, (licensee of ECAR technology) to co-design a large-scale (~10,000 liters per day capacity) prototype and co-lead the fabrication. I worked with collaborators at Jadavpur University to assess various possible field sites. Once fabricated, I tested the prototype reactor, commissioned the field trial, implemented various experimental programs and contributed to data analysis. My previous research work at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur involved wastewater treatment by synergizing the Microbial fuel cell and constructed wetland technologies. It followed the design and fabrication of pilot scale constructed wetlands. My major research interest is to design and the commercial implementation of water related technologies in developing countries.

Undergrads and Interns

Areidy A. Beltran

Earth and Planetary Science- Environmental Earth Science Major

I am a third year undergraduate student at UC Berkeley pursuing a major in Environmental Earth Science with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. I was awarded as  a UC LEADS Scholar in Spring 2012 and was given the opportunity to do research in the Gadgil Lab at LBNL.

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Chun Man Chow

Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering Science Majors

I’m an undergraduate at UC Berkeley double majoring in Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering Science with a minor in Environmental Economics and Policy. I am interested in solving issues of climatic change, environmental sustainability, and resource depletion to help make a difference in the world. Projects I am involved in at the Gadgil Lab include field-testing, lab experiments, and energy efficiency optimization analysis on the electrocoagulation arsenic remediation system in India and in California, and developing a toolkit for field-testing of ECAR.

Arjun Kaul

Materials Science and Engineering Major

I’m an undergraduate Materials Science and Engineering major at UC Berkeley. My interest is to work on high impact technologies that address key energy and environmental challenges. At Gadgil Lab, I primarily work on collecting and analyzing cookstove performance data. The goal of this work is to inform the design of next generation cookstoves that provide significant environmental, health, and economic improvements over cooking practices currently in use.

Maja Oblepias

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Materials Science and Engineering Majors

My interest is to find possible ways to overcome challenges and find improvements in current energy and environmental issues. My work in Gadgil Lab involves efficiency testing and collecting performance data of various cookstoves to add improvement in designing a low-cost, fuel-efficient and low-carbon emissions biomass cookstove. My goal is to become a person of my time who can help supply answers to many of the questions facing us today.

Research participants

Stoves Lab

  • Cristina Ceballos
  • Emily Chou
  • Giovanni Gajudo
  • Noah Horowitz
  • Jae Bin JuAdvait Kumar
  • Vipul Lalchandani
  • Timothy Lee
  • Ryan Liu
  • Meenakshi Monga
  • Dylan Moore
  • Adam Mulvihill
  • Matthew Roeschke
  • Abhinav Saksena
  • Hilary Seamans
  • Justin Shih
  • John Wilcox
  • Nina Yang
  • Ruolan Zhou

Water Lab

  • Subiksh Chandrashekar
  • James Britt Abrahamson
  • Akshay Shrivastava
  • James Hake