Recent News

Fall 2019


Solar Energy Research Group member Ryan Ellis wins first place in the Electronics and Photonic Materials Graduate Student Awards Session at the 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting for his oral presentation. Congratulations, Ryan!


Prof. Agrawal is an invited panelist for the Meet the Innovators presentation and panel discussion at the 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting


Ryan Ellis, Kyle Weideman, Zewei Chen, Jose Adrian Chavez Velasco, Yiru Li, and Peter Oladipupo all give oral presentations at the 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting


Solar Energy Research Group members Swapnil Deshmukh,* Ryan Ellis,* David Rokke, Dwi Sutandar and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal publish a paper titled, “Versatile Colloidal Synthesis of Metal Chalcogenide Nanoparticles from Elemental Precursors using Amine-Thiol Chemistry” in Chemistry of Materials


Prof. Rakesh Agrawal is awarded the Phillip C. Wankat Graduate Teaching Award in Chemical Engineering recognizing his achievements as an instructor in graduate-level courses. Congratulations, Prof. Agrawal!


Prof. Rakesh Agrawal writes a “Behind the Paper” blog post for Nature Sustainability describing the motivation behind the recently published paper


Prof. Rakesh Agrawal and Prof. Mitch Tunistra write a second blog post on Medium discussing the concept of Aglectric Farming


Prof. Rakesh Agrawal and Prof. Mitch Tunistra write a blog post on Medium featuring the NRT team and their research along with the new Nature Sustainability publication


Group alumni Caleb Miskin and current group members Yiru Li, Ryan Ellis, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal publish, “Sustainable co-production of food and solar power to relax land-use constraints” in Nature Sustainability


Ryan Ellis and Kyle Weidman receive the Eastman Travel Grant from the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering to attend the 2019 AIChE Fall Meeting


Summer 2019


Ryan Ellis received first place for his Oral Presentation in the Energy and Process Intensification category at the 28th Annual Symposium organized by Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Organization. Congratulations, Ryan!


Jose Adrian Chavez Velasco received first place for his poster in Energy and Process Intensification category at the 28th Annual Symposium organized by Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Organization. Congratulations, Adrian!


Prerena Prahlad, undergraduate student working with Peter Oladipupo, received ‘Top Research Poster’ award at the 2019 SURF Research Symposium. Congratulations, Prerena!


Solar Energy Research Group members Xianyi Hu and Scott McClary successfully defend their theses. Congratulations, Xianyi and Scott!


Solar Energy Research Group members Ryan Ellis and Kyle Weidman’s abstracts for the 2019 AIChE conference were accepted for an awards session oral presentation and Oral presentation respectively


Solar Energy Research Group member Scott McClary and David Rokke were nominated for the best student presentation award and best poster award respectively at the 46th IEEE PVSC


Yiru Li presented an oral talk and a poster at the 12th Natural Gas Conversion Symposium, San Antonio, Texas


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Welcome to the Rakesh Agrawal Research Group Webpage


Dr. Rakesh Agrawal awarded NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) funding for graduate education in STEM fields

The NSF-wide NRT program addresses key issues in the scientific community, including educating and expanding the science and engineering workforce, broadening participation in STEM education to include traditionally underserved populations, and creating new resources at institutions that train STEM graduate students:

Sustainable Food, Energy, and Water Systems (SFEWS): Rakesh Agrawal, Purdue University, and Aavudai Anandhi Swamy, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.



The Rakesh Agrawal Research Group consists of three sub-groups each focusing on different fields of research: Solar Energy (Photovoltaics), Energy Systems Engineering, and Separations Optimization.

The Solar Energy Group focuses on the fabrication of high efficiency solution processed solar cells. Using colloidal nanoparticle inks or molecular precursors, solar cells can be fabricated from solution based methods such as spin-coating, doctor blading, inkjet printing, or spray coating. The solution based method forgoes the typical high vacuum needed for semiconductor processing, potentially leading to significantly reduced manufacturing costs.

The Energy Systems Group focuses on development and optimization of processes to meet crucial societal needs, such as transportation fuel, chemicals, and electricity, primarily from renewable energy sources to enable a sustainable economy. This group also utilizes 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. Additionally work is being done on the efficient conversion of biomass to liquid fuel and maximizing liquid fuel from a given quantity of biomass.

The Separations Group focuses on developing efficient separation processes. Currently methods to synthesize and identify energy efficient distillation configurations for multi-component separation are being developed. Additional effort is being devoted to develop optimal methods for membrane separation processes.