Virginia Tech®home

Karunesh Kant

Postdoctoral Fellow
Karunesh Kant


Karunesh Kant received his bachelor's degree from Uttar Pradesh Technical University in Mechanical Engineering (2012) and master’s from National Institute of Technology Srinagar, in Mechanical System Design (2014). He received his doctorate in Renewable Energy (2019) from Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology Jais Amethi (An Institute of National Importance Established under the Act of Parliament). He was awarded the prestigious Bhaskara Advanced Solar Energy Fellowship by IUSSTF and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Government of India to undertake a part of his doctoral thesis work at the Advanced Materials and Technologies Laboratory, Virginia Tech, USA. His research interests are: Heat Transfer, Phase Change Materials, Thermal Energy Storage Materials, Solar Energy, Thermo-chemical Energy Storage.

Research Projects

Laminar Drag Reduction in Microchannels with Liquid Infused Textured Surfaces

Liquid infused surfaces (LIS) achieve non-wetting properties through asperity structures containing pockets of a lubricating liquid rather than air. Although studies have demonstrated several potential applications of LIS, the effect of liquid infused texture on the flow of liquid in microchannels has not been systematically addressed. The present work focuses on the effect of liquid-infused texture geometry and the infused liquid properties on the flow characteristics of a bulk fluid in rectangular and round microchannel geometries. Considering four different textured geometries of transverse ridges, longitudinal ridges, in-lined square posts and staggered square post arrangements, a detailed study is conducted to assess the resulting drag reduction and friction factor, expressed in terms of the Poiseuille number, on the flow in microchannels. Based on the results of the study an extension of the conventional Moody diagram for non-wetting surfaces is developed. Further, a design of experiments study is conducted to relate the drag reduction and Poiseuille number to the various governing parameters, using which conditions that maximize drag reduction are identified. 

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3

Analysis and Design of Air Ventilated Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) System Incorporating Phase Change Materials

Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) coupled with phase change materials (PCM) (BIPV/PCM) provide opportunities for reducing the photovoltaic (PV) panel temperature to increase the overall efficiency of the BIPV, while also transferring the extracted heat for building energy load management. A comprehensive numerical study is conducted to simulate the effects of different BIPV design parameters namely, BIPV height air gap between BIPV/PCM and wall, PCM thickness, and air mass flow rate on the maximum PV panel temperature, the power production by the PV, and the energy extracted by the air. Optimum BIPV/PCM designs are derived from the studies for three different phase change materials, with the goal of maximizing the total energy from photovoltaics and extracted heat subject to the constraint of keeping the maximum PV panel temperature to within acceptable values.

Hexagonal Waveguide Concentrator for Solar Thermal Applications

Concentrated solar thermal technology is a promising approach for process heat but the high capital cost of solar collector field precludes its widespread application. A low-cost solar collector technology is critical to decrease the levelized cost of heat from solar and increase the utilization of renewable heat in thermal desalination and solar thermal industrial process heat (SIPH) applications. This study analyzes a novel, cost-effective planar waveguide solar concentrator design inspired by cellular structures in nature that are often hexagonal honeycombs. The added benefits of the waveguide concentrator technology are facile installation and low operation and maintenance cost. The study reports numerical analysis on the coupled optical and thermal transport of solar irradiation through polymeric and glass-based hexagonal waveguide concentrator integrated with the linear receiver to determine feasible configurations based on thermal stress and maximum continuous operation temperature constraints. A cost analysis methodology was developed and the techno-economic tool was coupled to a numerical optimization framework. Optimal design configuration of a waveguide concentrator-receiver system that results in the maximum power density and least cost of heat are deduced for applications requiring heat in the temperature range of 100–250, which constitutes more than half of the industrial process heat demand. Overall, the hexagonal waveguide solar concentrator technology shows immense potential to decarbonize the industrial process heat and thermal desalination sectors.

Figure 4
Planar hexagonal waveguide configuration.
Figure 5
Temperature profiles in the waveguides for different operating parameters.
Figure 6
The hexagonal waveguide designs are cost effective compared to existing technologies.


  1. K. Kant, K.P. Sibin and R. Pitchumani, “Novel Fractal-textured Solar Absorber Surfaces for Concentrated Solar Power,” Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 248, 112010, 2022.
  2. K. Kant and R. Pitchumani, “Fractal Textured Glass Surface for Enhanced Performance and Self-Cleaning Characteristics of Photovoltaic Panels,” Energy Conversion and Management, 270, 116240, 2022.
  3. A. Shukla, K. Kant, P.H. Biwole, R. Pitchumani, A. Sharma, “Melting and Solidification of a Phase Change Material with Constructal Tree-Shaped Fins for Thermal Energy Storage,” Journal of Energy Storage, 53, 105158, 2022.
  4. K. Kant and R. Pitchumani, “Advances and Opportunities in Thermochemical Heat Storage Systems for Buildings Applications,” Applied Energy, 321, 119299, 2022.
  5. K. Kant and R. Pitchumani, “Analysis of a Novel Constructal Fin Tree Embedded Thermochemical Energy Storage for Buildings Applications,” Energy Conversion and Management, 258, 115542, 2022.
  6. K. Kant, K. Nithyanandam, and R. Pitchumani, “Analysis and Optimization of a Novel Hexagonal Waveguide Concentrator for Solar Thermal Applications,” Energies, 14, 2146, 2021.
  7. K. Kant and R. Pitchumani, “Laminar Drag Reduction in Microchannels with Liquid Infused Textured Surfaces,” Chemical Engineering Science, 230, 116196, 2021.
  8. K. Kant, R. Pitchumani, A. Shukla, and A. Sharma, “Analysis and Design of Air Ventilated Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) System Incorporating Phase Change Materials,” Energy Conversion and Management196, 149–164, 2019.


Department of Energy