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Recent News

Summer 2020


Tony Joseph Mathew received first place for his Oral Presentation in the Energy and Process Intensification & Biotechnology category, and won the Best Overall award, at the 29th Annual Symposium organized by Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Organization. Congratulations, Tony!


David Rokke received first place for his Oral Presentation in the Material Science category at the 29th Annual Symposium organized by Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Organization. Congratulations, David!


Solar Energy Research Group members David Rokke and Swapnil Deshmukh’s submissions to the 2020 Annual AIChE conference are accepted for an oral presentation and two Graduate Student Award Oral Presentations respectively.


Prof. Rakesh Agrawal and Separations Research Group Member Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty’s manuscript “Misconceptions about Efficiency and Maturity of Distillation” was published in AIChE Journal.


Separations Research Group member Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty is a winner of the 2020 AIChE Separations Division Graduate Student Research Award in the Distillation and Absorption area. Congratulations Radhakrishna!


Solar Energy Research Group member Swapnil Deshmukh is a winner of the best student paper award at the 47th IEEE PVSC. Congratulations Swapnil!


Separations Research Group member Zewei Chen, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript, “Classification and Comparison of Dividing Walls for Distillation Columns” was published in Processes.


Prof. Rakesh Agrawal is interviewed on the Purdue University College of Engineering’s podcast, “Sounds Like the Future” on Episode 08: Advancing Sustainability Across Disciplines. Prof. Agrawal discusses his research and interests centered around sustainability


Solar Energy Research Group members Swapnil Deshmukh, Kyle Weideman, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript, “Analyzing and Tuning the Chalcogen–Amine–Thiol Complexes for Tailoring of Chalcogenide Syntheses” was published in Inorganic Chemistry


Spring 2020


Solar Energy Research Group members Ryan Ellis, Jonathan Turnley, David Rokke, Jacob Fields, Essam Alruqobah, Swapnil Deshmukh, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript, “Hybrid Ligand Exchange of Cu(In,Ga)S2 Nanopartcles for Carbon Impurity Removal in Solution Processed Photovoltaics” was published in Chemistry of Materials


Solar Energy Research Group member Essam AlRuqobah’s and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript, “Potassium Treatments for Solution-Processed Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 Solar Cells” was published in ACS Applied Energy Materials


Solar Energy Research Group member Joseph Andler successfully defended his thesis. Congratulations Joe!


Solar Energy Research Group members, Ryan Ellis and Swapnil Deshmukh’s submissions to IEEE’s 2020 PVSC conference were both selected for (now virtual) oral presentations


Solar Energy Research Group member, David Rokke, is accepted to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Hands on Photovoltaic Experience (HOPE) 2020 program, a week long on-site educational program with field experts at NREL


Group member Tony Mathew received the 2020 Estus H. and Vashti L. Magoon Award for Excellence in Teaching by the College of Engineering for his teaching assistantship of CHE660: Chemical Reaction Engineering during the Spring 2019 semester


Prof. Rakesh Agrawal and alumni Xianyi Hu are co-authors of a newly published book, “Sustainable Photovoltaics,” which is an overview of various research projects that were a part of the SERIIUS funding network


Group members Ryan Ellis, Swapnil Deshmukh, and Zewei Chen all receive $1000 travel grants from the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering for conference travel


Solar Energy Research Group members Ryan Ellis and Swapnil Deshmukh’s submissions to the 2020 Spring MRS conference are accepted for oral presentations


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


Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal’s Purdue University Page

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.

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)
  • 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 Science210, 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 Sustainability2, 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 Materials31, 5674 (2019)

Z. Jiang and R. Agrawal, “Process Intensification in Multicomponent Distillation: A Review of Recent Advancements”, Chemical Engineering Research and Design147, 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 Engineers126, 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 Engineers125, 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 Materials2(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”, Processes6, 139 (2018)

Additional Documents

Curriculum Vitae

Patent List