The Future of Energy Storage

May 16, 2019 - 12:00 pm

1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC

The Future of Energy Storage

Introduced by:

David Livingston

Deputy Director, Climate and Advanced Energy, Global Energy Center

Atlantic Council

A conversation with:

Mitalee Gupta

Energy Storage Analyst

Wood Mackenzie

Venkat Viswanathan

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Carnegie Mellon University

Moderated by:

Akshat Rathi

Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center; Senior Reporter

Atlantic Council; Quartz

Batteries are disrupting trillion-dollar incumbent industries. Analysts now expect the total cost of owning battery-powered cars to be less than owning gas-powered cars as soon as 2022. At the same time, combining solar or wind power with batteries is becoming a viable replacement for natural-gas peaker power plants. The future holds other exciting opportunities: plugged-in electric cars that serve as stores of electricity for the grid, battery-backed mini-grids that replace the need for extending the main grid to remote places, and perhaps even battery-powered flights. Could all this be achieved within the few decades left to reach net-zero emissions and hit climate goals? Do we have the technologies or the metals to make it a reality? Are we ready with the changes our systems need to accommodate batteries?

Please join the Atlantic Council for a fully-charged discussion on the future of energy storage and battery technologies on Thursday, May 16, 2019, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch will be served.

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Mitalee Gupta is an energy storage analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, where she focuses on systems, technologies, and supply-chain analysis of the energy-storage market. Her background is in solar, energy storage, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency policy. She has also worked with the United Nations Development Program. Mitalee holds a Master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Delhi College of Engineering in India.

Venkat Viswanathan is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his PhD at Stanford University in 2013 and subsequently spent a year as a postdoctoral researcher at MIT. At Carnegie Mellon, he leads an interdisciplinary group comprised of twenty-five researchers working on technologies that can accelerate the transition to sustainable energy.

He is a recipient of numerous awards including the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, National Science Foundation CAREER award, and MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 Finalist. He has been a leading authority on electrification of semi-trucks and aviation, and has broad expertise in materials related to lithium-ion batteries, next-generation technologies such as solid-state batteries, and lithium-air batteries. He is a technical consultant for QuantumScape, a battery startup, and Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace manufacturer. He also sits on the advisory board of Zunum Aero, an electric aviation startup.

Akshat Rathi is a senior reporter for Quartz, where he covers science, energy, and environment, and a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center. Previously, he was The Conversation’s science editor and has worked at the Economist and the Royal Society of Chemistry. His writings have also been published in Nature, the Hindu, the Guardian, Ars Technica, and Chemistry World

He is the author of an award-winning series titled "The Race to Zero Emissions," where he writes on the technologies, businesses, and policies needed to hit global climate goals. His most recent work has explored batteries, electric cars, and carbon-capture technology. He has recently published an in-depth series on batteries in Quartz. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Oxford and a BTech in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai.

David Livingston is deputy director, climate and advanced energy, of the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center. He is also a fellow of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy at Johns Hopkins University, and teaches a course on energy for the University of Southern California (USC) program in Washington, DC.


Previously, Livingston served as a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and as the inaugural Robert S. Strauss fellow for geoeconomics at the Office of the US Trade Representative, where he concluded as acting assistant US trade representative for congressional affairs. He also has worked at the World Trade Organization in Geneva and at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna.


Livingston was selected as a Future Energy Leader by the World Energy Council, is an alumnus of the Atlantik Brücke Young Leaders Program, and serves on the advisory board of South by Southwest (SXSW) Cities and a number of social enterprise start-ups. 


He earned a BA from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and an MSc with distinction from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.