2015 Lectureship Recipient

Professor Arvind Varma

R. Games Slayter Distinguished Professor
Jay and Cynthia Ihlenfeld Head
School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University


"Selected Topics Related to Energy and Chemicals"

In the presentation, some selected research programs to produce energy carriers and valuable chemicals from new or renewable sources, currently being conducted in my group, will be discussed. Thses include (i)hydrogen generation for vehicle applications [1,2], (ii) catalytic upgrading of bio-oils [3], (iii) utilization of glycerol, a biodiesel waste product, for its purification and production of valuable chemicals [4,5], and (iv) oxidative coupling of methane [6].

  1. M.Diwan, H.T. Hwant, A. Al-Kukhum and A. Varma, AIChE J., 2011, 57, 259.

  2. H.T. Hwang and A. Varma, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 2013, 38, 1925.

  3. D. Gao, C. Schweitzer, H.T. Hwang and A. Warma, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2014, 53, 18, 658.

  4. W. Hu, D. Knight, B. Lowry and A. Varma, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2010, 49, 10876.

  5. Y. Xiao, G. Xiao, and A. Varma, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2013, 52, 14291.

  6. R. Ghose, H. T. Hwang, and A. Varma, Appl. Catal.. A, 2013, 452, 147; 2014, 472, 39.


"Evolving Trends in Chemical Engineering Education"

Based on a recent article [1], in this presentation we examine the evolution of chemical engineering education as well as recent and future trends that have been impacted by shifts in academic research and industry needs. We first provide a brief historical account of the chemical engineering discipline in which the major paradigms that emerged successively were unit operations and engineering science. We next discuss the recent impact that bioengineering and nanotechnology have had on the current emerging paradigm of molecular engineering of products and processes. Finally, given the future needs for addressing sustainability and energy issues, we anticipate that the next paradigm is likely to be one involving the integration of multi-scale and systems analysis. We discuss also the impact that the shifts in paradigms have had on the chemical engineering curriculum, on the perceived divergence between academia and industry, and the importance of maintaining a basic core of knowledge that defines an evolving chemical engineering discipline. Finally, we note the importance of promoting innovation in the curriculum to support the creation of new products and processes, as well as encouraging entrepreneurship among students in chemical engineering.


  1. A. Varma and I.E. Grossmann, AIChE J., 2014, 60, 3692.