Ravi Prasher appointed as Berkeley Lab’s associate laboratory director for energy technologies

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/Courtesy

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has announced that energy storage and heat transfer engineer Ravi Prasher will be the lab’s next associate laboratory director for energy technologies.

Prasher began his work with the lab in 2015 as the director of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division, or ESDR, where he guided research efforts on lowering the energy cost of desalination technology, electrical grid storage and management technology.

In his new position, Prasher will lead the lab’s Energy Technologies Area, or ETA, which encompasses ESDR as well as three other divisions. The Building Technology and Urban Systems Division develops energy-efficient strategies for the built environment, the Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division provides information on the effects of emerging energy technologies, and the Cyclotron Road program is an innovation incubator for entrepreneurial scientists.

“Ravi Prasher’s background in engineering research and his broad experience in government and industry make him well-suited to lead this group,” said Horst Simon, deputy director for research at the Berkeley Lab. “In addition, his focus on the spectrum of research, from discovery to devices, is vitally important as we work toward solutions to the big national challenges in energy.”

Prasher will bring his experience in innovation to the director position, from his work in electronics thermal management for microprocessors at Intel to his work with Sheetak Inc., a company that uses thermoelectrics principles to develop products that harvest energy.

As the ESDR director, Prasher said in an email he emphasized the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration, including market and policy research in developing new technology. In addition to his work at the lab, Prasher is a UC Berkeley adjunct professor of mechanical engineering, and has pointed to the partnership between the lab and UC Berkeley as a valuable advantage in developing new technology.

Prasher also highlighted the opportunities to expand the lab’s cooperation with other UC campuses.

“I am really looking forward to this position,” Prasher said in an email. “The Energy Technologies Area at Berkeley Lab is unique. Its strength is its breadth. … I will be placing a special focus on strengthening the connection and collaboration opportunities with UC Berkeley.”

Prasher has also worked for the U.S. Department of Energy in the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy on developing and commercializing renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies.

ETA has also conducted research on collecting heating or cooling energy that would normally be wasted, and putting that energy to other uses among a collection of buildings. Researchers at the lab have also examined the carbon reduction effects of technologies such as driverless cars.

“The challenge for the technical community is affordable sustainable energy and affordable usable water — that’s where it gets exciting,” Prasher said at a seminar that was held shortly after he joined Berkeley Lab.

Contact Ryan Geller at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @rashadgeller.