Alan West


808 S.W. Mudd
Mail Code 4721

Tel(212) 854-4452
Fax(212) 854-3054

Alan C. West creates, analyzes, and develops electrochemical technologies used for materials, sensors, energy storage and conversion, and the sustainable production of chemicals. He has worked on the design of novel electrodes for next-generation batteries and has collaborated extensively with industry on electrochemical metallization methods used in semiconductor manufacturing.   

Research Interests

Electrochemical engineering, electrolysis, electrochemical sensors, batteries, fuel cells, electrodeposition, energy storage, energy conversion.

West has developed novel methods that couple electrochemical and biological technologies that may potentially be used to produce fuels from renewable electricity, to convert inorganic waste streams to fuels, and to enable alternative processes for use in copper mining. Of particular interest to West are the experimental and numerical methods used to characterize transport phenomena and reaction mechanisms in electrochemical systems. He has simulated and analyzed a variety of metallization and dissolution processes, including studies by which the design of the electrolyte composition controls film growth and nucleation, and thus properties in geometries of relevance to the manufacturing of electronic devices.  He has developed models of battery electrodes that capture experimental observations ranging from the atomistic scale to the mesoscale to the full scale of the electrode. Due to the multi-scale, complex nature of batteries, West works closely with a range of scientists and engineers, including chemists, material scientists, physicists, and mechanical and electrical engineering. 

West received a BS in chemical engineering from Case Western Reserve in 1985 and a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989.   He is a fellow of the Electrochemical Society, and in 2014 he received the society’s Electrodeposition Award. He joined the faculty of Columbia Engineering in 1992. 



  • Postdoctoral fellow, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, 1990-1991


  • Chair of chemical engineering, Columbia University, 2005-2010; 2016–2019
  • Samuel Ruben–Peter G. Viele Professor of Electrochemistry, Columbia University, 2008–
  • Professor of chemical engineering, Columbia University, 2002-
  • Professor of earth and environmental engineering, Columbia University, 2016-
  • Associate professor of chemical engineering, Columbia University, 1995–2002
  • Assistant professor of chemical engineering, Columbia University, 1992–1995


  • Electrochemical Society (ECS)
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers


  • Fellow, Electrochemical Society, 2016
  • Electrodeposition Research Award, ECS, 2014


  • Nicholas W. Brady, Qing Zhang, K. W. Knehr, Ping Li, Amy C. Marschilok, Kenneth J. Takeuchi, Esther S. Takeuchi, and Alan C. West, “Discharge, Relaxation, and Charge Model for the Lithium Trivanadate Electrode: Reactions, Phase Change, and Transport,” J. Electrochem. Soc.,163, A2890 (2016). 
  • Alyson Abraham, Lisa Housel, Christianna N. Lininger, David Bock, Amy Marschilok, Alan C. West, Esther S. Takeuchi, Kenneth J. Takeuchi, “Investigating the Complex Chemistry of Functional Energy Storage Systems: The Need for an Integrative, Multiscale (Molecular to Mesoscale) Perspective,” ACS Central Science, 2, 380 (2016). 
  • Xiaozheng Li, Alan C. West, and Scott Banta, “Enhancing isobutyric acid production from engineered Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans cells via media optimization,” Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 113, 790 (2016).
  • Ruixing Zhu, Michael Vallance, Saeed Khalehi Rahimian, and Alan C. West, “Galvanostatic Intermittent Titration Study of the Positive Electrode of a Na|Ni(Fe)-Chloride Cell,  J. Electrochem. Soc., 162, A2051 (2015).
  • K. W. Knehr, Christopher Eng, Yu-chen Karen Chen-Weigart, Jun Wang, and Alan C. West, “Transmission X-ray microscopy of the galvanostatic growth of lead sulfate on lead: Impact of lignosulfonate,” Electrochimica Acta, 168, 346 (2015). 
  • Constantine Spanos, Sarah A. Berlinger, Aditya Jayan, Alan C. West, “Inverse Charging Techniques for Sulfation Reversal in Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 163, A1612 (2016).
  • K. W. Knehr, Nicholas W. Brady, Christina A. Cama, David C. Bock, Christianna N. Lininger, Amy C. Marschilok, Kenneth J. Takeuchi, Esther S. Takeuchi, and Alan C. West, “Modeling the mesoscale transport of lithium-magnetite electrodes using insight from discharge and voltage recovery experiments,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 162, A2817 (2015).
  • Owen Crowther and Alan C. West, “Effect of Electrolyte Composition on Lithium Dendrite Growth,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 155, A806 (2008).
  • Joshua W. Gallaway and Alan C. West, “PEG, PPG, and Their Triblock Copolymers as Suppressors in Copper Electroplating,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 155, D632 (2008).
  • Zhengwei Liu, Jun Wu, Alan C. West, “Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Microbalance (EQCM) Studies of Gold Oxidation in Cyanide Baths,” Electrochemical and Solid State Letters, 14, D1 (2011).