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Rakesh Agrawal

Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering

FRNY 3053D
Purdue University
Davidson School of Chemical Engineering
Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering
480 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2100
(765) 494-2257 (office)
(765) 494-0805 (fax)
Joined Purdue in 2004
B.Tech. - Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur
M.ChE. - Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware
Sc.D - Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Interests

Professor Agrawal's current interest and passion is in energy production issues especially from renewable sources such as solar. The thrust of research is to fabricate low-cost solar cells based on nanotechnology.

Another major thrust of his current research is efficient conversion of biomass to liquid fuel and maximizing liquid fuel from a given quantity of biomass. He is also involved in modeling to find the role of biofuels vis-a-vis other solar energy derived alternatives to propel an entire transport sector in a solar economy.

The group is also involved with developing efficient separation processes. Currently methods to synthesize and identify energy efficient distillation configurations for multicomponent separation are being developed. Additional effort is being devoted to develop optimal methods for membrane separation processes.

He has a broad experience in hydrogen production and purification technologies. This has evolved from his earlier activity in developing integration steps within coal gasification combined cycles for power as well as syngas generation.

His research interests also include basic and applied research in process development, gas liquefaction processes, cryogenics, and thermodynamics.

To find out more about Dr. Agrawal's research, visit his research group page.

Research Group

Visiting Scholars and Postdoctoral Associates

  • Parham Mobed

Graduate Students

  • Essam AlRuqobah
  • Jose Chavez Velasco
  • Swapnil Deshmukh
  • Ryan Ellis
  • Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty
  • Zheyu Jiang
  • Tony Joseph Mathew
  • Yiru Li
  • Scott McClary
  • Taufik Ridha
  • David Rokke
  • Co-advised: Joseph Andler and Xianyi Hu

Awards and Honors

Youngest Ever Recipient of the Air Products' Prestigious Chairman's Award (1992)
Extraordinary Quality Award from Air Products and chemicals (1992)
Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement from the University of Delaware (1995)
Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology from the AIChE (1998)
Clarence G. Gerhold Award, Separations Division, AIChE (2001)
Alkyl Amines Dr. B. D. Tilak Chemcon Distinguished Speaker, Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (IIChE) 2001
Honorary Fellow, Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (2001)
Who's Who in the World
Diamond Award for Inventor on One Hundred United States Patents, Air Products and Chemicals (2001)
Member, U. S. National Academy of Engineering (2002)
BAYER Lecture, Carnegie Mellon University (2002)
Air Products' Equipment Innovation Award for The APX™ Hybrid LNG Process (2003)
J&E Hall Gold Medal, Institute of Refrigeration, UK (2004)
Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, Who's Who in Finance & Business
Regents' Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles (2004)
Distinguished Faculty Seminar: Advanced Power Sources, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2004)
Professor B. D. Tilak Visiting Fellowship Lecture, Institute of Chemical Technology, University of Mumbai, India (2004)
AIChE Institute Lecturer (2005)
Chemical Engineering Practice Award, AIChE (2006)
V.V. Mariwala Visiting Professorship, UICT, Mumbai, India (2007)
Industrial Research Institute (IRI) Achievement Award (2007)
Chemical Weekly's Padmashri Dr. G. P. Kane CHEMCON Distinguished Speaker Award, IIChE (2007)
AIChE Fuels and Petrochemicals Division Award (2008)
Lecture on "Energy Systems Analysis" voted as the best presentation at the Pan American Institute (PASI) workshop, Argentina (2008)
W.R. Marshall Founders' Lecture, University of Wisconsin (2008)
Tis Lahiri Lecture, Vanderbilt University (2008)
C. K. Murthy Memorial Lecture, IIChE (2008)
Inaugural winner of Excellence in Gas Processing Award, Annual Gas Processing Symposium, Qatar (2009)
AIChE Fellow (2009)
Pirkey Lecture, University of Texas, Austin (2010)
Hugh M. Hulbert Memorial Lecture, Northwestern University (2011)
Hess Lecture, University of Virginia (2011)
AIChE Founders Award (2011)
Foreign Fellow, Indian National Academy of Engineering (2011)
ExxonMobil Visiting Chair Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore (2011 – Present)
National Medal of Technology and Innovation from the President of the United States of America (2011), (The highest honor given by the U.S. government for Technology and Innovation)
Ken Nobe Founders Lecture, Univ. of California, Los Angeles (2012)
Distinguished Alumnus Award, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (2012)
Padmavibhushan Professor M. M. Sharma CHEMCON Distinguished Speaker Award, IIChE (2012)
Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013)
Shreve Award for Excellence in Teaching, Chemical Engineering, Purdue University (2013)
Allan P. Colburn Honorary Lecturer, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (2013)
Annual KAIST CBE Global Distinguished Lecturer, Korea (2013)
Fellow, National Academy of Inventors (2014)
Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study Faculty Fellow (2014)
Morrill Award, Purdue University (2014)
Prof. C.V. Seshadri Memorial Distinguished Lecture, IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India, (2014)
Distinguished Lindsay Lecturer, Texas A&M University, (2014)
Distinguished Member, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, NSCS (2014)
TIAS Eminent Scholar Lecturer, Texas A&M University (2015)
Berkeley Lectures, Univ. of California, Berkeley (2015)
Schlumberger Lecture, DB. Robinson lecture series, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, (2015)
Inducted in Purdue Innovator Hall of Fame (2015)
Shinnar Lecture, Chemical Engineering Department, City College of New York, (2016)

Selected Publications

“Round-the-clock power supply and a sustainable economy via synergistic integration of solar thermal power and hydrogen processes”, E. Gencer, D. S. Mallapragada, F. Marechal, M. Tawarmalani, and R. Agrawal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 112(52), 15821 (2015).

"Generalized Quantum Efficiency Analysis for Non-ideal Solar Cells: Case of Cu2ZnSnSe4", C. J. Hages, N. J. Carter and R. Agrawal, J. Appl. Physics, 119, 014505 (2016).

"Optoelectronic and material properties of nanocrystal-based CZTSe solar cells with Ag-alloying”, C. J. Hages, M. J. Koeper and R. Agrawal, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 145, 342 (2016).

"Thermal Coupling Links to Liquid-only Transfer Streams: An Enumeration Method for New FTC Dividing Wall Columns”, G. Madenoor Ramapriya, M. Tawarmalani and R. Agrawal, AIChE Journal, 62(4), 1200 (2016). DOI: 10.1002/aic.15053.

"Global Optimization of Multicomponent Distillation Configurations: 2. Enumeration based Global Minimization Algorithm”, U. Nallasivam, V. H. Shah, A. A. Shenvi, J. Huff, M. Tawarmalani and R. Agrawal, AIChE Journal, 62(6), 2071 (2016), DOI: 10.1002/aic.15204.

"Solution-processed sulfur depleted Cu(In, Ga)Se2 solar cells synthesized from a monoamine–dithiol solvent mixture”, X. Zhao, M. Lu, M. J. Koeper and R. Agrawal, J. Mater. Chem. A, 4, 7390 (2016).

"Synthesis and Characterization of Cu3(Sb1-xAsx)S4 Semiconducting Nanocrystal Alloys with Tunable Properties for Optoelectronic Device Applications“, R. B. Balow, C. K. Miskin, M. M. Abu-Omar and R. Agrawal, Chemistry of Materials, 29, 573 (2017), DOI:

"Directing solar photons to sustainably meet food, energy, and water needs”, E. Gencer, C. Miskin, X. Sun, M. R. Khan, P. Bermel, M. A. Alam and R. Agrawal, (2017), DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-03437-x.