Hello! My name is Kushaan Bahl and I am a rising Junior Chemical Engineering major in UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry. I enjoy running, reading, cooking, board games, playing music, and playing/watching basketball, soccer, and most other sports.
Ever since high school, I have been passionate about solving global environmental problems, from climate change to water instability to electricity shortages. Growing up, I spent several summers with my family in India and witnessed the immediate impacts of climate change in the air and water. The AQI was always hazardous in winter, literal mountains of trash lined some highways, and the water in many rivers and canals was black. These experiences led me to pursue a path of sustainability. On Berkeley’s campus, I am currently a research team co-lead of the Biofuels Technology Club, a campus organization that works on converting dining hall waste cooking oil to biofuels. I also have done research on self assembling polymers at the oil and water interface at the Molecular Foundry of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
Through Cal Energy Corps, I was fortunate to get an opportunity to do climate-driven research over the summer! Over the next few months, I will be performing technoeconomic analysis and project research with Dr. Eric Sundstrom of LBNL’s Advanced Biofuels and Byproducts Process Development Unit, working on a project to convert renewable energy to bioproducts via bacterial and electrochemical transformations. With the social distancing guidelines in effect, I most likely will not be able to go into the facility and work on a physical project. Instead, I will be mainly focused on analyzing the process itself from start to finish and determining the costs of scaleup of the system. I am looking forward to starting work on this exciting project in the next few weeks!