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Solar Economy - Is It Feasible?

Dr. Rakesh Agrawal
Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor
School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University

An energy systems analysis, to identify opportunities and pitfalls as the renewable economy emerges, will be presented. We will focus on a future where the basic human needs of food, chemicals, heat, electricity and transportation will generally be met by solar energy. In a solar-energy-driven world, it will be particularly challenging to satisfy the need of the transportation sector due to its requirement of high energy density fuel and associated ease of handling. Some novel solutions to meet this challenge and sustain the current transportation sector will be presented. Also, electricity production from solar energy and solutions to store energy at Tera Watt-hours scale will be discussed.

Biographical Information

Rakesh Agrawal is the Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor, School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University. His research is focused on various energy transformation and use issues. He has published 106 technical papers and holds 118 U.S. and more than 500 foreign patents. These patents are used in over one hundred chemical plants with total capital expenditure in multibillion dollars.

He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and a foreign Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering. He is currently on the Technical Advisory boards of the Dow Chemical Co., Genomatica, Weyerhaeuser, Aspen Tech and ATMI. Dr. Agrawal received the 2010 National Medal of Technology and Innovation.