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Fall 2021


Energy System Group Members Zewei Chen, Yiru Li, Wasiu Peter Oladipupo, Edwin Rodriguez, Gary Sawyer, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript “Alternative ordering of process hierarchy for more efficient and cost-effective valorization of shale resources” was published in Cell Reports Physical Science.

Energy System Group Undergraduate Researcher Arsh Bhatia received OUR scholarship for 2021-2022 academic year. Congratulations Arsh!


Summer 2021


Separations Research Group Members Jose Adrian Chavez Velasco, Zewei Chen, Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty, Prof. Mohit Tawarmalani, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript “Energy-efficient membrane cascades for industrial separations” was published in Computer Aided Chemical Engineering.

Separations Research Group Members Tony Joseph Mathew, Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty, Prof. Mohit Tawarmalani, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript “A Simple Criterion for Feasibility of Heat Integration between Distillation Streams Based on Relative Volatilities” was published in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Separations Research Group Members Jose Adrian Chavez Velasco, Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty, Prof. Mohit Tawarmalani, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript “Optimal design of membrane cascades for gaseous and liquid mixtures via MINLP” was published in Journal of Membrane Science.

Separations Research Group member Tony Joseph Mathew successfully defended his thesis. Congratulations Tony!

Separations Research Group Members Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty, Jose Adrian Chavez Velasco, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript “Methods to Assess Numerous Distillation Schemes for Binary Mixtures” was published in Chemical Engineering Research and Design.


Spring 2021


Tony Joseph Mathew and Zewei Chen both gave oral presentations at the 2021 AIChE Spring Meeting

Solar Energy Research Group member Swapnil Dattatray Deshmukh received the Outstanding Research Award 2021 from the College of Engineering. Congratulations, Swapnil!

Separations Research Group Member Jose Adrian Chavez Velasco, Prof. Mohit Tawarmalani, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript “Systematic Analysis Reveals Thermal Separations Are Not Necessarily Most Energy Intensive” was published in Joule.


Fall 2020


Energy Systems Research Group member Zewei Chen received the Bill Murray Fellowship for 2020-21 academic year. Congratulations Zewei!


Separations Research Group members Tony Joseph Mathew, Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty, Prof. Mohit Tawarmalani, and Prof. Rakesh Agrawal’s manuscript “Quickly Assess Distillation Columns” was published in Chemical Engineering Progress.


Solar Energy Research Group member Swapnil Deshmukh won the Second Place Award in the 2020 AIChE Graduate Student Award Competition in the Inorganic Chemistry Area. Congratulations Swapnil!


Separations Research Group member Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty successfully defended his thesis. Congratulations Radhakrishna!


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.


Separations Research Group member Jose Adrian Chavez Velasco successfully defended his thesis. Congratulations Adrian!


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


Press News

Prof. Rakesh Agrawal is interviewed on the Purdue University College of Engineering’s podcast, “Sounds Like the Future” on Episode 8: Advancing Sustainability Across Disciplines with ChE’s Agrawal

“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.”

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

“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. ”

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

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.”

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

“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.”

Professor Rakesh Agrawal and the NSF NRT Project are Featured in an Article by Forbes

“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.””

Prof. Agrawal’s Sustainable Full Earth Concept Recognized in News Article from DNA

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

Professor Rakesh Agrawal Recognized at Inventors Recognition

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 Agrawal Wins ACS Award in Separations Science and Technology

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.

‘Hydricity’ Concept Uses Solar Energy to Produce Power Round-the-Clock

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.

Dr. Rakesh Agrawal Receives National Medal of Technology and Innovation

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)