Pushing the boundaries of hydrogen generation research for a more sustainable future
Note: This interview was conducted in fall 2018. Miheer Shah was a Business Development Fellow in 2018/19.
Miheer Shah is a master’s student in materials science and engineering, focusing on an energy storage and conversion material system. After completing his B.S. in chemical engineering at UC Berkeley, Shah worked in various project management roles in the healthcare industry. In the Woodall research group at UC Davis, he investigates a gallium-aluminum alloy’s ability to split water, transforming the energy content of aluminum into a fuel: hydrogen. In his spare time, Shah enjoys exploring the outdoors and reading about emerging technologies.
In a nutshell, describe your project or venture.
My research in energy storage and conversion revolves around extracting useful energy in the form of hydrogen by splitting water with aluminum metal, using a patented, environmentally friendly process that uses low-cost, abundant materials and is completely recyclable.
What’s important about your research or project—and where do you hope to take it?
As global warming escalates and its impact on humans and the environment intensifies, the urgency for alternative energy solutions has never been greater. The hydrogen economy has been mooted as a promising solution, but has remained stagnant. My project is important to push the boundaries of current hydrogen generation research as we march towards a more sustainable future.
What are you most passionate about in your work?
Working on a project that can help contribute to tackling two critical global problems: affordable and clean energy, and sustainable communities. I am also passionate about working with highly motivated students and advisers.
As global warming escalates and its impact on humans and the environment intensifies, the urgency for alternative energy solutions has never been greater. My project pushes the boundaries of current hydrogen generation research as we march towards a more sustainable future.
What was the most important thing you learned at the Entrepreneurship Academy?
The value of entrepreneurship as a process rather than a product, and that embracing failure as a learning opportunity in the process is vital for the ultimate success of a venture. Furthermore, I learned that two keys to entrepreneurship are building new networks around the venture, and working collaboratively to achieve a greater common goal.
What is the most unexpected advice you received from a mentor?
A mentor who works with executives as a strategic planning consultant advised the value in thinking like the customer. Put yourself in the customer’s position to know where you can truly provide value.
Do you plan to participate in the Big Bang! Business Competition or “just” the workshops? How do you expect this to help you as an aspiring entrepreneur?
I plan to seek out interesting Big Bang! ideas and am open-minded towards participating in the competition. The hands-on experience would force me to grapple with entrepreneurial challenges and grow confidence by getting out there and getting things done.
How will your experiences as a Business Development Fellow help you to change the world?
Combining my background in STEM with entrepreneurial and business skills from the Business Development Fellows Program affords me a multi-faceted perspective and approach to solving the complex problems of our society. Furthermore, the connections I foster with people in and around the program will serve as my support structure in my quest to make a positive impact on people and the community.