Shawn Litster is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University (2008) and his Bachelor Engineering and Master of Applied Sciences degrees from the University of Victoria. His current research focus is micro- and nano-scale transport phenomena in energy conversion technologies where electrochemistry and electrokinetics play a dominant role, including fuel cells, batteries, and ultra-capacitors. His research interests also include multiphase flow in porous media and micro-channels, non-linear dynamics, catalytic gasification, and microfluidic pumping.

Litster has received Carnegie Mellon’s George Tallman Ladd Research Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER award, the University of Victoria’s Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal, and best paper/presentation awards from The Electrochemical Society and the American Society for Mechanical Engineers. He is an author of over 30 journal papers and three book chapters. He is also an inventor for two US patents on fuel cell design.

5107 Scott Hall
Google Scholar
Shawn Litster
Laboratory for Transport Phenomena in Energy Systems

Advancing Transportation Technology: Electrification of Vehicles with Fuel Cells and Batteries

Fuel Cells for Electric Vehicles

Behind the Researcher


2008 Ph.D., Stanford University

2005 Master of Applied Sciences, , University of Victoria

2004 Bachelor of Engineering, University of Victoria

Media mentions

Multiple sources

Litster quoted on hydrogen-powered vehicles

MechE’s Shawn Litster was quoted by AP News about the feasibility of hydrogen-powered vehicles as a step toward clean transportation.

CMU Engineering

Behind the Researcher

The College of Engineering is known for our cutting-edge research, academic rigor, and amazing students, but you might be surprised by some of the other talents of our award-winning faculty.

Scott Institute

CMU Engineering faculty awarded Scott Institute seed grants

Eight research projects lead by CMU Engineering faculty have been awarded 2020 Seed Grants for Energy Research by the Scott Institue for Energy Innovation.


Litster on fuel cell-powered cars

MechE’s Shawn Litster was interviewed in a Bloomberg article about Toyota’s upcoming second-generation Mirai vehicle, a hydrogen fuel-cell powered sedan. Fuel cell vehicles have been outsold in the U.S. and make up a small part of the market. In the past few years, improvements have been made, but according to Litster, there is still much to do, including finding a cheaper replacement for platinum.

Department of Energy

DOE awards Litster and partners $3.7M for fuel cell tech research

MechE’s Shawn Litster is involved in two new projects on fuel cells for heavy-duty vehicles, which are both funded by the Department of Energy (DOE).

Mechanical Engineering

Leading the fuel cell charge

Shawn Litster earns recognition from the Department of Energy for his leadership in developing clean, efficient, and cost-effective energy alternatives.

CMU Engineering

Energy Week 2019: What’s next in energy innovation

From March 25 – 28, 2019, the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University will hold CMU Energy Week 2019.

CMU Engineering

How long until efficient fuel cells? Ask the experts.

In the quest for alternatives to gas-powered vehicles, experts believe one new method shows great promise: Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells.

NBC News

Litster on hydrogen-powered trains

MechE’s Shawn Litster spoke with NBC News about Germany’s new hydrogen-powered trains, which are zero-emission, environmentally friendly alternatives to diesel trains. “You can get [hydrogen] from renewable electricity, so with wind farms, solar farms, dams—anything that can generate electricity can generate hydrogen,” Litster said.

CMU Engineering

Seeding energy research

The Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation announced the 2017 recipients of its annual Seed Grants for Energy Research, which supports efforts across the university in the areas of energy, environment, and policy.

Litster receives $2 million from DOE for research on fuel cells

Recently, MechE’s Shawn Litster received $2 million from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to fund his research project, titled “Advanced PGM-free Cathode Engineering for Higher Power Density and Durability.”

Litster receives NSF award for project on lithium batteries

MechE's Shawn Litster received nearly $300,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to research the challenges faced with advanced anodes for next generation lithium batteries used in transportation applications.