Vasanthi Sunkara, CEO & President

Ms. Vasanthi Sunkara has been leading ADEM since its inception as the CEO  and President and  is responsible for the overall business operations. She received an MBA from the University of Louisville in 1996 and  a B.S  in Accounting from St. Theresa’s College (India) in 1994. Ms. Sunkara has  over  20  years of business analysis and project management experience. She has extensive knowledge of the SBIR funding process and has been involved in presenting the technology to investors and raising equity investments for the company. At  ADEM, her current responsibilities include HR management, managing company’s R&D  projects and reporting, contracts and strategic partnerships. Ms. Sunkara also sits on the company’s Board as a Director. 

Dr. Mahendra Sunkara, CTO

Dr. Mahendra Sunkara is the Founder and the Chief Technology Officer of Advanced Energy Materials, LLC. He pioneered several technologies for producing nanowire based materials and their use in various catalysts and batteries. Dr. Sunkara received his B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering from Andhra University (India) in 1986, a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University in 1988, and a PhD in 1993 from Case Western Reserve University. He worked at Faraday Technology, Inc. in Dayton, OH, from 1993-1996 as a Project Engineer before joining UofL as an assistant professor in 1996. In 2013, Dr. Sunkara has been named as the Director of the Conn Center for Renewable Engineering Research.  He has published over 140 articles in refereed journals, four book chapters, and was awarded over 25 U.S. patents. He co-authored a book entitled “Inorganic Nanowires: Applications, Properties and Characterization” published by CRC Press. He was awarded the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty in Engineering award in 1999 and a NSF CAREER award in 1999. In 2002, the Louisville Magazine placed him in the list of top 25 young guns in the city of Louisville. In 2009, he received the UofL President’s distinguished faculty award for research and United Phosphorus CDS Award from the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2009. He has been named as Fellow of Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation in 2017. His research work was cited about 7000 times with an h-index of 40. His work resulted in over twenty US patents. Prior to founding ADEM, he founded two other companies, Chemner Batteries, Ltd in India and Indacle Software, Inc in Dayton, Ohio.

Dr. Shashank Bahri, Research Engineer

Dr. Shashank Bahri is a Research Engineer at Advanced Energy Materials (ADEM), LLC. Dr. Bahri’s current research includes working on the Syngas to Methanol project supported by the U.S. Department of Energy on CO2 capture and its utilization to produce useful chemicals such as methanol. He has more than seven years of experience in Reaction Engineering, with an emphasis on catalyst design, characterization, and activity screening. He is instrumental in developing and scale-up of nanowire-based hydrogenation catalysts and reactive adsorbents to produce renewable fuels and value-added chemicals. His research interests include designing and developing environment-friendly and economical catalytic materials for renewable fuel and platform chemicals production from non-fossil fuel resources. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) and a Bachelor’s in Technology with an Honors in Chemical Engineering from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam University, Lucknow (India). He has authored/co-authored more than ten research articles in peer-reviewed international journals of high impact factors and presented several research papers in many national and international conferences. Dr. Bahri is the recipient of the Research Excellence Travel Award-2019 and Dr. BN Chatterjee Award-2013. His achievements have also been recognized as a Keynote Speaker in the 6th UK Catalysis Conference (UKCC 2020), held at the Holywell Park, Loughborough, the United Kingdom, organized by the UK catalysis Hub.

Dr. Hari Reddy, Research Scientist

Dr. Hari Reddy is a Research Scientist at ADEM and is currently working on design and development of plasma catalysis modular process for ammonia synthesis and CO2 to methanol over nanowire catalysts. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, India in 2012. Dr. Reddy has over 9 years of experience in heterogeneous catalysis for green applications. His research experience includes Biomass conversion to biofuels, catalysis for green applications, hydrogen production from biomass and conversion of syngas to methnol and chemicals. His research also focuses on development of metal oxide supported catalysts for methanol and higher alcohols from syngas. His expertise is in catalyst design, development and catalyst characterizations for the structure-activity relationships. He was awarded as senior research fellow (SRF) from CSIR, India, in 2009. He has published more than 35 peer-reviewed international journals as a lead and co-author and one Korean patent. He has attended national and international conferences to present his research findings.

Luke Guhy, Production Engineer

Luke is a native Kentuckian, is currently working on design and assembly of process systems, quality control, as well as logistics and material handling. While earning his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Louisville, he worked briefly for United Technologies Aerospace Systems as an Operations Engineer.  During his undergraduate career, Luke traveled to Slovenia, Germany, and Costa Rica as part of  University of Louisville’s prestigious  Brown Fellows Program enrichment projects.  Currently finishing his M.Eng., he is working with the team to implement nanowire production and catalyst formulation processes at a commercial scale. Luke is co-inventor on one of the US patent application in pending. 

Dr. Sivakumar Vasireddy, Research Scientist

Dr. Vasireddy has over 10 years of experience in heterogeneous/homogeneous catalysis, with an emphasis on catalyst synthesis, characterization and activity evaluation. Currently Dr. Vasireddy is working on research and development of nanowire based hydrotreating catalysts and reactive adsorbents to produce clean fuels ULSD, ULSG and bioethanol cleanup, scale up production of catalysts and catalyst formulations. He is instrumental in developing the solid acid catalysts and bimetallic catalysts for bio-based platform chemicals and fuel additives. Previously, as a research engineer at Jantra-SF LLC, he developed hierarchical zeolites and mesoporous catalysts for converting syngas via DME/methanol to jet fuel/diesel, and bifunctional catalysts for single step synthesis of DME from coal/biomass derived syngas. As a research associate at the Louisiana State University, he investigated super acid catalysts for converting methane to C2+ hydrocarbons and attrition resistant Fischer-Tropsch catalysts for slurry reactors. His experience includes working on chemical valorization of CO2 to produce dialkyl carbonates using organometal and nanometal oxide catalysts at the Universite de Bourgogne, France. Dr. Vasireddy received his BS and MS degrees in Chemistry from Andhra University, India and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, India in 2007. He has published 19 articles in refereed journals and has been awarded 3 US, 5 Indian patents and few US patents in pending.

Dr. Sonia Calero Barney, Research Engineer

Dr. Sonia Calero-Barney is a Research Engineer at ADEM and is currently working on Plasma Catalysis for Ammonia production. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Louisville in 2022. Dr.Calero’s research experience is in nitrogen plasmas, plasma-assisted liquid phase epitaxy of III-V alloys toward photoelectrochemical energy conversion applications. Her research also focuses on reaction mechanisms of atmospheric ammonia production through plasma-aided heterogeneous catalysis of nitrogen, hydrogen, and air mixtures. Conducts Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) measurements of plasma flames to obtain electron temperature and density. Modeled thermodynamic equilibrium compositions of different gaseous mixtures containing nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen to optimize process feed. 

Neeti Rastogi, Associate Research Engineer

Neeti Rastogi is an Associate Research Engineer at ADEM and is currently working on CO2 to Methanol DOE funded Phase II project. She received her M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in 2020.