Professor Jay Whitacre
Chief Scientist and Founder
Jay Whitacre is the founder of Aquion Energy and has served as CTO and Chief Scientist. He joined Carnegie Mellon University in 2007, with a joint appointment in Materials Science & Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy departments, and was promoted to Full Professor in 2015. Prior to his time at Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Whitacre was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology from 1999 to 2000 and subsequently became a member of the technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. His work there was focused on synthesizing, characterizing, and implementing materials for electrochemical devices such as batteries and fuel cells. Starting in 2005, he was a Cognizant Engineer for Mars Science Laboratory rover program, where he was in charge of the energy storage components of the descent stage module. His work at CMU has been focused on developing and analyzing new materials and systems for electrochemical energy storage and conversion. In 2008, a first-generation version of the AHI chemistry was developed in his labs at CMU, and subsequent incubation work resulted in the spin out of Aquion Energy from CMU in late 2009.
Dr. Whitacre received his BA from Oberlin College in 1994, where he graduated with honors in Physics. He then earned his masters (1997) and PhD (1999) from the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Michigan. Whitacre has authored or co-authored over 60 peer review papers and is an inventor on over 30 patents that are issued or pending. He has numerous honors to his name, including the 2014 Caltech/Resnick Sustainability Institute Resonate Award, was listed as one of the top 25 Eco-Innovators in the world by Fortune Magazine in 2014, and was the 2015 winner of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Innovation.