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News and Press

Fall 2017

Prof. Rakesh Agrawal received the Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Chemical Engineering Research during the 2017 AIChE National Meeting.

Swapnil Deshmukh, Zheyu Jiang, Radhakrishna Tumbalamgooty, Taufik Ridha, and Parham Mobed presented their works during the 2017 AIChE Annual Meeting.

Swapnil Deshmukh is recognized at the Chemical Engineering GSO Graduate Research Symposium for Best Poster in the Materials and Nanotechnology Category

Summer 2017

Swapnil Deshmukh and Ryan Ellis attend the Hands on Photovoltaic Experience (HOPE) educational conference and present their work on solution processed CIGSSe

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

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

Scott McClary and Joseph Andler’s paper titled “Solution-Processed Copper Arsenic Sulfide Thin Films for Photovoltaic Applications” is published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C

Joseph Andler presents a poster at the 2017 Crystal Growth and Assembly Gordon Research Conference entitled ” Luzonite Nanoparticle to Enrgaite Grain Polymorphic Transition for Thin-film Photovoltaics”

Taufik Ridha presents a poster at the 2017 EFRC-Hub-CMS PI Meeting entitled ” Systems-Level Molecular Mapping of Biomass-derived Molecules to Target Products”

Scott McClary is nominated for the Best Student Presentation Award at the 2017 PVSC

Scott McClary gives a talk at the 2017 Photovoltaic Specialist Conference in Washington DC titled, “Fabrication of Copper Arsenic Sulfide Thin Films from Nanoparticles for Application in Solar Cells”


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Our Motivation

With rising energy prices and increased focus on efficiency, the synthesis and design of energy-efficient separation processes is a major challenge for a practicing engineer. All chemical industries require separation units to meet product quality, to recover harmful chemicals, etc.  Quite often for a multicomponent separation, a sequence of separation devices based on distillation, membrane, adsorption, etc. are used. Some examples include crude petroleum distillation, ethylene recovery, gas separations, etc. However, all the separation processes are energy intensive. It is estimated that the separation processes account for 40 – 70% of chemical plant costs (Humphrey and Keller, 1997). The energy consumption of such separation processes is heavily dependent on how the separation devices are sequenced or configured. Suboptimal sequences are known to result in energy penalty in excess of 50%. Therefore, it is essential to develop easy to use methods that will identify optimal separation sequences leading to large energy savings.


Our research is aimed at developing a systematic approach to generate energy efficient separation schemes for several applications. We not only develop separation sequences of individual unit operations but also hybrid sequences containing different separation technologies. In addition to synthesis of novel separation schemes, we have also developed heat integration approaches for improving the energy efficiency of the given process. Heat integration helps to utilize the available heat in a process to produce work rather than rejecting it, thereby leading to an improvement in efficiency. The aim of this research is to reduce energy consumption of various separation processes. Our goal is to provide easy-to-use tools for the synthesis of optimal separation process while considering all possible separation unit operations.

Recent Publications

Complete list of Separation publications.
Complete list of publications.