We have a traditionally strong focus on chemical process engineering. The overall goal is developing newer, greener and more efficient processes for diverse applications. Process engineering encompassing intuition based innovation as well as a more systematic (but restrictive!) modeling, simulation and optimization approaches are at the foundation of the research activities in this area. Currently, the emphasis is on innovation for process integration and intensification, reaction engineering, novel process technologies (membranes, ionic liquids) and process systems engineering (modeling, optimization and control). Much of the research has a very applied industrial focus.
The department has faculty working on the development of integrated and intensified processes for a significantly smaller footprint and equipment size. R&D activities include a novel split packing HiGee technology that is finding applications in the refining and pharmaceutical industry, modified pressure swing adsorption cycles for clean separation of gases (including CO2 sequestration) and the development of activated carbon fiber based adsorbents for intensified industrial, military and pollution control applications. In addition, our research also includes the development and application of newer membranes/membrane based separation methods as well as ionic liquid mediated environmentally benign catalysis.
We have a competent set of colleagues working on catalysis and reaction engineering. Their research encompasses supported metal oxide catalysis, development of thermally stable heterogeneous complex catalysts and monolithic/micro reactor engineering for conventional applications.
The department possesses significant expertise in process systems engineering encompassing first principles/data driven process modeling, optimization and control. The current emphasis is on devising more robust and efficient biology inspired stochastic multiobjective optimization approaches with diverse applications and systematic approaches for economic plant-wide control. The process systems engineering framework is also being effectively applied in research on computational biology (gene expression profiling/gene network analysis, array informatics and rational drug design etc.).
The research activity in this broad area attracts significant funding from the Indian and overseas industry as well as Government agencies. Our sponsors include Chevron, HPCL, Saudi Aramco, BPCL and DST amongst others. The expertise also finds expression in a rich variety of elective courses covering different aspects of process design and engineering.