“Rome wasn’t built in a day — and neither will the full shift to renewable energy occur that quickly. Our current economy has evolved on the basis of fossil resources; any abrupt transition will create havoc. Trillions of dollars of new investment will be needed, along with training people in new skills. Also, many technology aspects of the renewable economy await development.”
“A team of engineers and agronomists at Purdue University has been experimenting with the possibilities of “aglectric” farming, mounting solar panels 15 to 20 feet above the ground at the university’s Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE) facility in West Lafayette. Among the project’s goals is to establish and refine efficient methods of collecting infrared radiation for energy production while letting visible light pass through to crops like corn and soybeans.”
“Agrawal discusses principal interests that have driven his research during the 15 years since he left the corporate world for academia. From his first days on Purdue’s College of Engineering faculty, he has shown a zeal to contribute to energy sustainability for the future. This passion has taken him into multidisciplinary collaborations extending far beyond chemical engineering.”
“In December 2015, my wife, Manju, and I visited the majestic Munnar Hills in the southern Indian state of Kerala. We were awestruck with the serene beauty that surrounded us. Wherever our eyes could gaze, the hillside was covered with beautifully manicured tea plants. While taking in the view, a fleeting question crossed my mind – how will people living in these hills meet their energy needs in a renewable world? There was no empty land to install photovoltaic (PV) modules to harvest solar energy as electricity. Shadow casting PV modules could not be installed atop the tea plants – their shadow would deprive the tea plants underneath of solar photons, and likely impede the growth of these plants. I quickly found myself reenchanted with the natural beauty that surrounded us, and the thought of PV modules faded away. ”
“Solar power is poised to become the world’s primary energy source, but a land shortage in most regions of the world will be the next hurdle blocking progress. Purdue researchers have found a novel way to knock down the barrier. The race for energy production from renewable resources is in full swing. The good news: The cost of solar energy production has decreased so significantly that it is now viably competing against natural gas. Unfortunately, there is bad news, too, which is that the world doesn’t have sufficient unused land for solar production. Our research at Purdue develops a workaround to solve this challenge.”
“Life teems on earth in vast variety and across a wide geographic distribution, just as it did eons ago with ancient plants and organisms. Fossil fuel energy sources formed from the decay of that primeval life, and just as it was spread unevenly across the planet then, the natural availability of these fossil resources is limited to certain regions of the world today as well. This has led to an economic order where most countries — constituting a major fraction of the human population — rely on oil, coal and natural gas that must be imported over long distances.”
“A Purdue University professor is developing a way for farmers to capture solar energy without blocking the sunlight their crops need. The solar collectors being developed by Chemical Engineering Professor Rakesh Agrawal and his colleagues would capture infrared radiation for energy production while letting visible light pass through to crops. “We are going to build this structure on agricultural land. We have an agronomist who will grow corn and we will monitor the land and make sure we can produce electricity and grow food at the same time,” he said in Chicago Wednesday. “The day we figure out how to have food and energy coexist together, I think it is perfect.””
“Using different parts of sunlight’s spectrum to produce crops, generate electricity, collect heat and purify water could provide food, energy and water resources for the world’s growing population, a team led by an Indian origin scientist has proposed. He led a team which proposes a system that would use the entire solar spectrum to maximize resource production from a given land area. The concept, described in the journal Scientific Reports, works by separating and harvesting the three specific segments of the solar spectrum that are best suited to facilitate the production of food, energy and clean water.”
Dr. Rakesh Agrawal awarded NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) funding for graduate education in STEM fields
Dr. Rakesh Agrawal, the Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University, is principal investigator (PI) of a research project awarded funding as part of the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program. Seventeen projects received a total of $51 million to develop bold, new, potentially transformative models for graduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The new NRT awards included funding forÂ Sustainable Food, Energy, and Water Systems (SFEWS). Dr. Rakesh Agrawal, Purdue University, and Dr. Aavudai Anandhi Swamy, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization officials reported a record-breaking 376 invention and copyright disclosures, 236 licensing deals, 151 U.S. and global patents issued, 521 global patent applications and $5.45 million in royalty income. They also reported a record 27 startups based on Purdue intellectual property launched in the fiscal year. Prof. Agrawal was among those recognized.
Professor Rakesh Agrawal, the Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, was recently selected as the recipient of the American Chemical Society’s 2017 ACS Award in Separations Science and Technology.
This award recognizes the development of novel applications with major impacts and/or the practical implementations of modern advancements in the field of separation science and technology. It is sponsored by Waters Corp.
Professor Agrawal will be honored at the ACS Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, in conjunction with the 253rd ACS National Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. “Researchers are proposing a new hydricity concept aimed at creating a sustainable economy by not only generating electricity with solar energy but also producing and storing hydrogen from superheated water for round-the-clock power production.
The proposed hydricity concept represents a potential breakthrough solution for continuous and efficient power generation, said Rakesh Agrawal, Purdue University’s Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering, who worked with chemical engineering doctoral student Emre Gencer and other researchers. The concept provides an exciting opportunity to envision and create a sustainable economy to meet all the human needs including food, chemicals, transportation, heating and electricity.
President Barack Obama congratulates Purdue’s Rakesh Agrawal (left) during the presentation of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in Washington, D.C. The award is the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed by the president of the United States. (Photos by Ryan K. Morris Photography)