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

Sustainable Food, Energy & Water Systems (SFEWS) NSF Research Traineeship

NSF Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR)

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

Graduate Students

  • Shubhanshu Agarwal
  • Zewei Chen
  • Swapnil Deshmukh
  • Shuaikang Du
  • Daniel Hayes
  • Tony Joseph Mathew
  • Anna Murray
  • Akash Nogaja
  • Apurva Pradham
  • Edwin Rodriquez
  • David Rokke
  • Robert Spilker
  • Ryan Swope
  • Jonathon Turnley
  • Varsha Varsha
  • Kyle Weideman
  • Co-Advised: Anna Murray

Research Scientists

  • Shreyash Hadke

Awards and Honors

Youngest Ever Recipient of the Air Products' Prestigious Chairman's Award (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)
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)
Regents' Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles (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)
American Chemical Society Award in Separations Science and Technology (2017)
Scheduled to deliver Peter V. Danckwerts plenary lecture at the 10th World Congress of Chemical Engineering, Barcelona, Spain (2017)
AIChE Alpha Chi Sigma Award (2017)
Guest Professor, Tianjin University (2018)

Selected Publications

S. D. Deshmukh, R. Ellis, D. Sutandar, D. J. Rokke, and R. Agrawal, "Versatile Colloidal Syntheses of Metal Chalcogenide Nanoparticles from Elemental Precursors using Amine-Thiol Chemistry", Chemistry of Materials, 31, 9087 (2019)

T. Mathew, R. Tumbalam Gooty, M. Tawarmalani, and R. Agrawal, "110th Anniversary: Thermal Coupling via Heat Transfer: A Potential Route to Simple Distillation Configurations with Lower Heat Duty", Published in 110th anniversary issue of I&EC Res. (2019)

Z. Jiang, Z. Chen, J. Huff, A. Shenvi, M. Tawarmalani and R. Agrawal, "Global Minimization of Total Exergy Loss of Multicomponent Distillation Configurations", Accepted for publication in AIChE Journal

R. Agrawal, "Chemical Engineering for a Solar Economy", Chemical Engineering Science, 210, 115215(2019)

C. K. Miskin, Y. Li, A. Perna, R. Ellis, E. K. Grubbs, P. Bermel and R. Agrawal, "Sustainable Coproduction of Food and Solar Power to Relax Land Use Constraints", Nature Sustainability, 2, 972-980(2019)

X. Zhao, S. D. Deshmukh, D. J. Rokke, G. Zhang, Z. Wu, J. T. Miller, and R. Agrawal, "Investigating Chemistry of Metal Dissolution in Amine-Thiol Mixtures & Exploiting it towards Benign Ink formulation for Metal Chalcogenide Thin Films", Chemistry of Materials. 31, 5674 (2019)

Z. Jiang and R. Agrawal, "Process Intensification in Multicomponent Distillation: A Review of Recent Advancements", Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 147, 122-145 (2019)

Z. Jiang, T. J. Mathew, H. Zhang, J. Huff, U. Nallasivam, M. Tawarmalani and R. Agrawal, "Global Optimization of Multicomponent Distillation Configurations: Global Minimization of Total Cost for Multicomponent Mixture Separations", Computers and Chemical Engineers, 126, 249 (2019)

S. McLeod, E. Alruqobah and R. Agrawal, "Liquid Assisted Grain Growth in Solution Processed Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2", Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells, 195, 12-23 (2019)

R. Tumbalam Gooty, R. Agrawal and M, Tawarmalani, "An MINLP Formulation for the Optimization of Multicomponent Distillation Configurations", Computers and Chemical Engineers, 125, 13-30 (2019)

C. K. Miskin, S. D. Deshmukh, V. Vasiraju, K. Bock, G. Mittal, A. Dubois-Camacho, S. Vaddiraju and R. Agrawal, "Lead Chalcogenide Nanoparticles and Their Size-Controlled Self Assemblies for Thermoelectric and Photovoltaic Applications", ACS Applied Nano Materials, 2(3), 1242-1252 (2019)

T. Ridha, Y. Li, E. Gençer, J. J. Siirola, J. T. Miller, F. H. Ribeiro and R. Agrawal, “Valorization of Shale Gas Condensate to Liquid Hydrocarbons through Catalytic Dehydrogenation and Oligomerization”, Processes, 6, 139 (2018)