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Purdue University's Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering Receives IRI's 2007 Achievement Award


Dr. Rakesh Agrawal Honored for his Contributions in the Field of Cryogenic Air Separation

Lincolnshire, IL - For his contributions in the field of cryogenic air separation, finding new designs by thinking about process and energy integrations in novel ways, and substantially improving a broad and critically important part of that technology base for the industry, Dr. Rakesh Agrawal, Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, has been honored with the 2007 Industrial Research Institute's (IRI) Achievement Award. The Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in individual innovation and creativity that contributes to the development of industry and to the benefit of society. The Award will be presented at IRI's Member Summit to be held at the Lincolnshire Marriott, October 16-18, 2007.

By way of background, cryogenic air separation is the cost-effective, preferred technology for producing very high purity oxygen and nitrogen in high production rate plants. This technology is used by all liquefied industrial gas production plants to produce liquid products. It requires more power to produce oxygen than nitrogen, and more than twice as much power to produce these products as liquids rather than as gases.

“While cryogenic air separation is not a household concept, Dr. Agrawal's remarkable contribution to this field has resulted in positively affecting important industrial research processes, ” said Ed Bernstein, President of IRI. IRI is the business association of leaders in research and development (R&D) working together to enhance the effectiveness of technological innovation in industry. Founded in 1938 through the National Research Council, the IRI include executives from a wide range of industries whose member companies are investing more than $70 billion annually in R&D worldwide.

Dr. Agrawal's research focus is related to energy issues and includes novel processes for fabrication of low-cost solar cells, biomass and coal to liquid fuel conversion, hydrogen production from renewable sources and energy systems analysis. His research interests further include basic and applied research in gas separations, process development, synthesis of distillation column configurations, adsorption and membrane separation processes, novel separation processes, gas liquefaction processes, cryogenics, and thermodynamics. Dr. Agrawal holds 116 U.S. and more than 500 foreign patents. These patents are used in more than 100 chemical plants with a capital expenditure in excess of $1 billion dollars.

Before joining the faculty of Purdue University, Dr. Agrawal was an Air Products Fellow at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., from 1980 to 2004. He has authored 66 technical papers and has given countless lectures and presentations. He chaired the Separations Division and the Chemical Technology Operating Council of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and also a Gordon Conference on Separations. He was a member of the NRC Committee on Alternatives and Strategies for Future Hydrogen Production and Use. He is currently a member of the AIChE's Board of Directors and also it's Energy Commission. He is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the NRC Board on Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES).

In addition to IRI's 2007 Achievement Award, Dr. Agrawal has received other awards including the J & E Hall Gold Medal from the Institute of Refrigeration (UK), Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement from the University of Delaware, and the Gerhold, Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology, Institute Lecture and Chemical Engineering Practice awards from the AIChE.

Dr. Agrawal received a B. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technologies, in Kanpur, India; a M.Ch.E. from the University of Delaware; and a Sc.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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About the Industrial Research Institute The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) is the foremost business association of leaders in research and development (R&D) working together to enhance the effectiveness of technological innovation in industry. Founded in 1938 through the National Research Council, the IRI comprises senior executives from a diverse range of industries whose member companies are investing over $70 billion annually in R&D worldwide. The IRI is the leading cross-industry organization providing the R&D community with insights, solutions and best practices in innovation management developed through collaborative knowledge creation.