Nihar Shah

Nihar Shah

Presidential Director: Global Cooling Efficiency Program
Policy Researcher V


Nihar Shah is Presidential Director of the Global Cooling Efficiency Program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, leading research on alternate refrigerants and energy efficiency for Heating, Ventilation, Airconditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC&R) equipment, including Berkeley Lab's research in support of the Clean Cooling Collaborative in India, China, South-east Asia, and various emerging economies. He is a member of the Refrigeration, Air-conditioning and Heat Pump Technical Options Committee(RTOC) of the Montreal Protocol. His other research interests include advanced manufacturing, circular economy, anti-fragility and water technology and policy.
Nihar's work has been featured in various media including Scientific AmericanEconomistWashington PostNew York TimesForbes Magazine, NPR, PRI, Voice of America and numerous other publications. He serves on a number of advisory boards and committees and regularly advises multilateral institutions, financial institutions, governments, regulators and industry on a variety of energy technology and policy issues.

Prior to joining Berkeley Lab, Nihar worked at the California Public Utilities Commission(CPUC)'s Public Advocates Office. He received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.Tech. in Thermal and Fluids Engineering and a B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering, both from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He is a licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer in the State of California.


Mechanical Engineering, PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2008
Thermal and Fluids Engineering, M.Tech., Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, 2002
Mechanical Engineering, B.Tech., Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, 2002


Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy (AILA) International Fellowship; Center for Strategic & International Studies -  September 27th 2021

Summer 2021 AILA International Fellow. AILA is part of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas to address the world’s greatest challenges.

K-CEP Lifetime Achievement Award: Nihar Shah -  February 6th 2020

In 2020, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) awarded Nihar Shah the "Lifetime Commitment to Cooling" award in recognition of the depth and  broad impact of his research and lifetime of commitment to efficient cooling.

K-CEP Progress on Cooling Policy Award: Nihar Shah, Won Young Park -  February 6th 2020

In 2020, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) awarded the LBNL team of Won Young Park and Nihar Shah the "Progress on Cooling Policy" award along with the UN Environment (UNEP) United for Efficiency (U4E) Initiative and the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) in recognition of their work on the U4E "Model Regulation Guidelines" for energy-efficient and climate-friendly air-conditioners. The potential worldwide energy and environmental benefits by 2040 that are possible with a market transition, supported by policy improvements aligned with the model regulation guidelines, to energy-efficient room air-conditioners are estimated to be about 558 terawatt-hours, equivalent to electricity generation from 255 500-megawatt-capacity power plants and 516 million tons of CO2 emissions.

Societal Impact Award -  October 3rd 2019

2019 Societal Impact

Citation: In recognition of Nihar Shah’s visionary leadership and groundbreaking research on the co-benefits of increasing air-conditioning energy efficiency combined with the phaseout of hydroflourocarbons. His research contributed directly to changing the course of global environmental policy and unlocking millions in investment.

Journal and Editorial Board Memberships

Frontiers in Energy Efficiency, Review Editor