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Recent News

Fall 2018

Solar Energy Group member Ryan Ellis’ abstract titled, “Ligand Exchange of Copper Indium Gallium Sulfide Nanoparticles for Minimization of Carbonaceous Impurities in High Efficiency Solution Processed Photovoltaics,” is accepted for an oral presentation at the 2018 Fall MRS Conference

Solar Energy Research Group member Scott McClary is recognized at the Chemical Engineering GSO Graduate Research Symposium for best overall talk

Solar Energy Research Group members David Rokke and Kyle Weidman are recognized at the Chemical Engineering GSO Graduate Research Symposium for Best Poster in the Energy and Process Intensification

Summer 2018

Group members David Rokke, Scott McClary, Radhakrishna¬†Tumbalam Gooty, Yiru Li, Zheyu Jiang and Tony Matthew’s submissions to the 2018 AIChE Conference are accepted for oral presentations

Prof. Rakesh Agrawal delivered a plenary lecture titled “Energy Systems Engineering for an Emerging Solar Economy” at the 13th International Symposium on Process Systems Engineering (PSE) 2018.

Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty and Yiru Li presented their research at PSE 2018

Congratulations to Zheyu Jiang for receiving the 2018 AIChE Separations Division Graduate Student Research Award

Congratulations to Radhakrishna Tumbalam Gooty for receiving PSE 2018 Young Researcher Award

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


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.