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Recent News

Spring 2018

Professor Rakesh Agrawal and the NSF NRT research project are featured in an article by Forbes

Congratulations to Solar Energy Research group alumni Charles (Chuck) Hages for accepting a faculty position at the University of Florida

Congratulations to Solar Energy Research group alumni Charles (Chuck) Hages for receiving the Citation Award from the Purdue University Davidson School of Chemical Engineering

Congratulation to Scott McClary for receiving the 2018-109 Bisland Dissertation Fellshowp

Congratulation to Yiru Li for passing her Preliminary Examination

The Solar Energy Research Group and Energy Systems Research Group welcome Kyle Weideman and Zewei Chen respectively

Fall 2017

Congratulations to Essam AlRuqobah, Swapnil Deshmukh, Ryan Ellis, and Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty for passing their Preliminary Examinations

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


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% (Shah and Agrawal, 2010). 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 (Shah and Agrawal, 2010; Ramapriya et. al., 2017), we have also developed heat integration approaches for improving the energy efficiency of the given process (Shenvi et. al., 2012). 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.