About Me

As a Research Scientist and Primary Investigator, I lead and direct research for the for the Reacting Flow Applications Laboratory and the Wood Stoves Laboratory at Berkeley Lab.


In the Reacting Flow Applications Laboratory, we develop novel, ultra low emissions, fuel flexible burners for residential and industrial heat and power applications. We also evaluate performance and emissions of related technologies, develop test methods for performance evaluation, and use fundamental science to develop test methods for high throughput biofuel property test methods to accelerate biofuel path to market.


In the Biomass Stoves Laboratory, projects include designing, building, and testing advanced cookstoves that reduce harmful pollutants by 90% for the developing world; developing unified laboratory protocols for ISO 285 standard; developing simplified laboratory and field test methods for wood heaters used in the U.S., and organizing collaborations with and providing scientific guidance to government agencies, non-government agencies, industries, and regional cookstove and wood heater researchers.


In the Reacting Flow Applications Laboratory, projects include developing low emission, high turndown technologies for residential combustion appliances; developing ultra-low emissions, carbon neutral combustion technologies for distributed energy generation; developing a low-cost, robust, non-electric warmer for preventing neonatal hypothermia in developing countries; evaluating performance and emissions of heat and power technologies; and developing rapid, high throughput biofuel property test methods to accelerate biofuel path to market.


In addition to experimental research, I also lead software development and analysis projects that include developing an adaptive computational tool to predict bioproduct and biofuel properties for screening and validation, and assessing opportunities for combined heat and power and district energy systems using conventional and alternative energy sources. 


As a Postdoctoral Fellow at Berkeley Lab, I implemented combustion safety diagnostics into industry standards for mitigating health risk when improving energy performance of residential buildings.


For my Ph.D. research, I investigated novel techniques for improving engine efficiency and reducing emissions of advanced internal combustion engines. My primary research included (1) investigating a hydrogen-oxygen-argon internal combustion engine, and (2) characterizing performance of alternative, renewable fuels and biofuels in spark-ignited (SI) and homogenous charged compression ignition (HCCI) engines.


Prior to my Ph.D., I conducted thermal and stress analysis using finite element methods on primary flight control actuators for the Boeing 787 and other commercial aircraft.

Reacting Flow Applications Lab



University of California, Berkeley

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering


Univeristy of Utah

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering


Univeristy of Utah

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, cum laude

Outreach and Service



Provide guidance on technologies considered for incubation and broadly assist the team in its technology investigations

ETHOS Conference


Promotes and supports advancement of clean biomass cookstoves through the Engineers in Technical and Humanitarian Opportunities of Service (ETHOS) Conference

Western States Section of the Combustion Institute


Support and organize activities related to the Western States Section of the Combustion Institute (WSSCI)

Women Scientists & Engineers Council


Promote diversity and inclusion and serve as point of contact to the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division at Berkeley Lab



Lend technical expertise and experience to the California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development Initiative (CalSEED) by providing guidance for selecting potential concept award recipients

Cyclotron Road


Lend technical expertise and experience by providing guidance for selecting potential award recipients

© 2019 by Vi H. Rapp

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