Ravi Prasher, chief technology officer of Bloom Energy and an ASU mechanical engineering alumnus. He was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Photo courtesy of Prasher.


Ravi Prasher, chief technology officer of Bloom Energy, mechanical engineering alumnus and former adjunct professor in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, or NAE.

Election to the NAE is one of the most prestigious professional honors accorded an engineer.

Founded in 1964, the NAE is a nonprofit institution with a mission to advance the welfare and prosperity of the U.S. by providing independent advice on matters involving engineering and technology.

New members are vetted and selected by existing members based on their distinguished accomplishments in business, academia and leadership positions in government and private institutions.

With a membership of more than 2,000 peer-elected highly accomplished engineers, NAE also promotes a vibrant engineering profession and public appreciation of engineering.

Prasher’s election recognizes his contributions to the profession, particularly the development of thermal management technologies for microelectronics and the decarbonization of thermal energy systems.

Thermal management technologies are critical to ensuring that systems in various industries, including microelectronics, automotive and aerospace, are safe and operate at optimal temperatures by avoiding overheating.

After earning his doctoral degree at ASU, Prasher joined Intel’s facility in Chandler, Arizona, where he developed advanced cooling technologies for microprocessors used in computers.

“Some of the technologies I developed were ahead of their time,” he says, explaining how recent advancements in artificial intelligence and large language model data centers are making cooling technologies even more vital.

After 11 years at Intel, Prasher went on to work in the thermal energy decarbonization field, which involves the process of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide, or CO2, emissions produced primarily by burning fossil fuels.

“I changed my field because I wanted to do something related to climate change,” he says. “I left a really good private sector job and went to the Department of Energy.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, CO2 accounted for 80% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in 2022, making it the gas that is most accelerating climate change.

Prasher joined the DOE as the founding member of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, which has a mission to fund high-risk, high-reward energy projects. At the time, almost 15 years ago, the wider energy R&D and innovation community was mostly focused on decarbonizing the electric grid and automobiles.

He saw decarbonizing thermal energy systems as a more effective approach and dedicated his work to developing innovative approaches and technologies to advance research in the field.

“More than 50% of the energy today in the world is used as thermal energy,” he says, emphasizing why he decided to focus his research and work on thermal energy.

Prasher led advances in thermal energy storage to improve the efficiency and resiliency of U.S. clean energy systems.

He puts the significance of thermal energy storage into perspective.

“Industrial processes account for almost 30% of fuel-related greenhouse gas emissions. While renewable energy offers a sustainable alternative, its intermittent availability doesn’t support continuous factory operation. That’s where thermal energy storage comes into play,” Prasher says. “By harnessing solar energy during the daytime, significant amounts of heat can be stored and then used to power factories at night. This way factories wouldn’t need to use other sources of energy that emit CO2.”

While at the DOE, he continued research on cooling and recently invented a cutting-edge technology called the ionocaloric refrigeration cycle, which utilizes an electrochemical field and ion to achieve a more efficient cooling that produces no greenhouse gases.

Prasher sees his election to the NAE as an honor and an opportunity to continue making meaningful contributions to engineering and society at large.

“This recognition comes with many responsibilities, including advising policymakers on research areas to invest in and how the teaching of engineering should evolve,” he says. “Most importantly, the biggest responsibility for me is becoming a role model for other engineers and attracting the younger generation to the profession.”

As an ASU alumnus and former adjunct professor, Prasher now advises students to pursue studies and research in fields they genuinely enjoy.

“Throughout my career, I never focused on where things I was working on would lead me. I just did them because I loved them, and they led me here,” he says. “I feel lucky that I get paid to do something I love. That is special.”

Prasher was drawn to pursue his doctoral studies at ASU by his advisor Patrick Phelan, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and associate dean of graduate programs at the Fulton School of Engineering.

“[Dr. Phelan] influenced my research approach heavily. He instilled in me to be at the cusp of science and engineering and not be afraid to get into new fields,” Prasher says.

Phelan reflects on Prasher’s election to the NAE.

“Ravi’s election to the NAE is very well deserved,” he says. “Not only does it reflect his incredible intellect and creativity, it also demonstrates what kind of impact he’s had in two very different fields: microelectronics and energy. His research emphasizes how fundamental concepts can, and should, be applied to solving problems of great practical importance.”

More about Prasher

In addition to his role at Bloom Energy, Prasher is also an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Bloom Energy, Prasher was the associate lab director of the Energy Technologies Area and a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Prasher holds more than 35 patents in various fields, including thermoelectric, microchannels and thermal interface materials. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, or ASME, and recently became a lifetime fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, which publishes the highly prestigious Science journal.

He is also a recipient of many reputable awards, including Intel’s highest award for technical achievement, the Outstanding Young Engineer award from the Components and Packaging Society of IEEE and the heat transfer memorial award from ASME.

Prasher has served on the editorial committee of highly regarded engineering publications such as the Annual Reviews of Environment and Resources, Nano and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering, IEEE Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology and the ASME Journal of Heat Transfer.

To learn more about his research, visit his research team’s website, the Thermal Energy Group at Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory.