Welcome New Postdoc Sherafghan Iftikhar!

The Thermal Energy Group would like to welcome Sherafghan Iftikhar, a new postdoctoral researcher!

Sherafghan Iftikhar, born on March 5, 1992, in Lahore, Pakistan, completed his Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering at COMSATS University, Lahore, Pakistan, in 2014. In 2019, Sherafghan pursued a Master's at UET in Lahore, Pakistan, focusing on membrane simulation. He then began his Ph.D. at North Carolina State University under Dr. Fanxing Li's mentorship, specializing in sustainable carbon dioxide and methane conversion. His work earned him the Vivian T. Stannett Graduate Award and the Kokes Travel Award. In April 2024, Sherafghan embarked on a postdoctoral research position at Berkeley Lab, collaborating with Dr. Sumanjeet Kaur to investigate thermochemical energy storage. Apart from his academic pursuits, he finds joy in immersing himself in diverse cultures, playing cricket, and occasionally showcasing his talent in stand-up comedy.

We're happy to have you, Sherafghan!


Postdoc Malavika Bagepalli Selected as SLAM Finalist

We congratulate Thermal Energy Group postdoc Malavika Bagepalli for being selected as one of 12 finalists for Berkeley Lab's 2023 Research SLAM! The Berkeley Lab Research SLAM is a competition where early-career and postdoc scientists at the lab are challenged to present three-minute presentations of their research in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Malavika had this to say about her selection:

"I am thrilled to have been chosen as one of the top 12 SLAM finalists! This is a fantastic learning opportunity for me to have discussions with a diverse group of people and effectively communicate my specialized research with a wider audience."

The SLAM live event will take place on September 21st, and the top 3 presenters will go on to participate in the Bay Area Research SLAM in October. Good luck, Malavika!


Congratulations Thermal Energy Group Graduates!

We would like to congratulate our recent graduates Dr. Drew Lilley, Dr. Divya Chalise, and Dr. Nate Weger! As members of the first PhD cohort of this group, we are incredibly proud of them and cannot wait to see what they will achieve!

Dr. Lilley is an Activate Fellow at Berkeley Lab's Cyclotron Road program and co-founder of Calion Technologies, a start-up company focusing on ionocaloric heating and cooling for next-generation refrigeration.

Dr. Chalise is a postdoctoral researcher Stanford University, where he is working under Professors Arun Majumdar and Yi Cui to study thermal science and electrochemistry.

Dr. Weger is a founder of Calectra, a start-up company focused on thermal energy storage for industrial heating.


Congrats Divya!

Divya Chalise, one of the first PhD cohort members of this group, has accepted a postdoc position at Stanford University. He will be co-advised by Professor Arun Majumdar and Professor Yi Cui, and will continue exploring the intersection of thermal science and electrochemistry. Congrats Divya, we're all very proud of you and excited to see what you accomplish next!


New Refrigeration Cycle

This cool new approach to refrigeration could replace harmful chemicals |  Ars Technica

Drew Lilley and Ravi Prasher have developed a new thermodynamic cycle, the ionocaloric refrigeration cycle! This cycle uses differing ion concentrations in materials to induce phase change, enabling cooling without the use of harmful refrigerants. This new concept has lots of potential, and we're excited to see where it goes! This technology was novel enough to warrant a Science paper, and you can read more here.


Group Lunch at Cornerstone

Thermal energy group members sitting at a table together for a picture at Cornerstone

Ravi recently announced that he has accepted the CTO position at Bloom Energy, and that he will be switching jobs at the end of the month. He took the whole group out to Cornerstone for a chance to get everybody together before he leaves. We had a great time, and the food and drinks were fantastic, and we wish Ravi the best in his new position! Thanks for all that you've done for all of us!


Goodbye Qiye!

Thermal energy group members standing together for a picture on the cafeteria patioToday, our group had a brunch get-together to say goodbye to Qiye Zheng, who's been a very important member of our group for 3 years. During his time here, Qiye has performed groundbreaking research in thermal metrology, and worked with and mentored lots of researchers and students. He is leaving to be a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. We'll miss you Qiye, and best of luck in your future endeavors!


Publication on Phase Change Materials Covered by American Institute of Physics

Image showing a box on the left depicting Sensible Heating, and illustrating heat capacity and thermal cinductivity, The center Blue box shows the Phase Change Material and the Latent heat of fusion, supercooling, and nucleation. The far right box depicts the thermochemical material, and the enthalpy and entropy of the reaction.

Delighted to announce that our group's latest publication, Phase change materials for thermal energy storage: A perspective on linking phonon physics to performance, authored by Drew Lilley et al, was recently covered by the American Institute of Physics.

This paper describes advances that our work has made in understanding the fundamental physics of phase change materials used for energy storage.

The link to the full text of the paper can be found here:

Way to go, Drew and team!


Thermal Energy End-of-Year Picnic

Image of lab group members lined up in front of some foliage, smiling.

Just before the winter break, the Thermal Energy Group had its first official get together since before the beginning of the pandemic. We gathered at Tilden Regional Park and shared pizza, drinks, conversation, and a little bit of sunlight. Most of us had not crossed paths much over the last couple of years, so this was a much needed chance to reconnect in person.

Many more like this coming in the near future!