Joining the United States Department of Energy in 2003, Dr. Sunita Satyapal worked in the Fuel Cells Technology Program and was promoted to Director of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
After earning her doctorate she was a visiting professor at Vassar College where she taught many courses but wanted to spend more time in research. So she accepted a position at Cornell where she applied skills developed working on her PhD by using lasers to destroy chemical warfare agent simulants.
Before joining the DOE, Satyapal worked in the private sector at the United Technologies Research Center at UTC Fuel Cells where she managed research groups of scientists, engineers, and technicians on chemistry and energy projects that included hydrogen and fuel cell research and development.
She was first hired as the Hydrogen Storage Team Lead where she coordinated hydrogen and fuel cell activities for the DOE as well as other agencies. Through the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuels Cells in the Economy, she worked with international stakeholders from seventeen countries and the European Commission.
When appointed director in 2010 her responsibilities increased to include oversight and coordination of close to $100 million in research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities related to hydrogen fuel cells as well as the office’s overall strategy and execution. The Fuel Cells Technologies Office encompasses a large variety of interests to address the full range of barriers facing the development and deployment of hydrogen and fuel cells. The ultimate goals of this research include reducing carbon emissions, decreasing our dependence on oil, and enabling clean reliable power generation.
The fuel cells being developed under Dr. Satyapal have numerous advantages including low maintenance needs, high reliability, and quiet operation and can provide power from many fuels from hydrogen to natural gas or renewable fuels like biogas and methanol.
Dr. Satyapal has authored many publications and been awarded ten patents so far in her career. She was a recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from UTC and was selected to the National Gallery of Women Engineers.
Written by Angela Goad