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Rakesh Agrawal

Class of 2014-15

Rakesh Agrawal
Rakesh Agrawal

Purdue University
National Academy of Engineering
National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Rakesh Agrawal is Purdue University’s Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering.

His current interests are in energy production issues, especially renewable sources such as solar energy. He conducts research into the efficient conversion of biomass to liquid fuel and is involved in the use of modeling to determine the role of biofuels in relation to solar energy–derived alternatives for propelling transportation in a solar economy.

A holder of the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed by the president of the United States—the National Medal of Technology and Innovation—Agrawal conducts research in energy-related areas that involve the conversion of biomass to liquid fuels, processes related to low-cost solar cells, energy systems analysis, and high-efficiency separation processes needed for industry and research.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering since 2002, Agrawal served on the National Research Council panel, which issued a report The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs. Agrawal was elected as a 2013 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a 2013 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

His technical contributions toward improving the energy efficiency of separation plants that produce industrial gases, such as oxygen and nitrogen gases from air, and in the general area of gas liquefaction and separation, along with several energy-related technologies has led to 120 US patents and 500 international patents along with 136 publications.

He received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, in 1975; a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware in 1977; and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980.

Agrawal’s efforts also have been recognized with the J&E Hall Gold Medal from the Institute of Refrigeration in the United Kingdom, the Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement from the University of Delaware, the Industrial Research Institute Achievement Award, and six awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers: the Gerhold Award, the Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology Award, the Institute Lecture Award, the Chemical Engineering Practice Award, the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division Award, and the Founders Award. From Purdue University, he received the Morrill Award for teaching, service, and impact on society and the Shreve Prize for outstanding teaching in chemical engineering.

As a Faculty Fellow, Agrawal will collaborate with faculty-researchers and graduate students from the Department of Chemical Engineering in the Dwight Look College of Engineering.

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