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Brief Profile of the Awardee


Dr Avinash Kumar Agrawal

  • 2016
  • Engineering Sciences
  • 22/08/1972
  • Mechanical Engineering, IC Engines
Award Citation:

Dr Agarwal has made outstanding contributions to the research related to IC engine combustion, optical diagnostics, laser ignited hydrogen/ CNG engine, spray characterization, emission and particulate control, lubricating oil tribology. He has developed industrially relevant technologies like low-cost diesel oxidation catalysts and HCCI engines.

Academic Qualifications:
SNODegreeSubjectCGP/MarksYearUniversityAdditional Particular
1B.E. Mech. Eng.69.98%1994University of RajasthanMalviya Regional Engg. College, Jaipur
2M.Tech. Energy9.2 CGPA1996Indian Institute of Technology, DelhiCentre for Energy Studies
3Ph.D. Mech. Eng.--1999Indian Institute of Technology, DelhiCentre for Energy Studies
4Post Doctorate ResearchEngine Research--2001University of Wisconsin, Madison, USAEngine Research Center
Thesis and Guide details:
SNOTitle of Ph.D. ThesisName of Guide
1Performance Evaluation and Tribological Studies on A Biodiesel Fuelled Compression Ignition EngineProf. L M Das
Details of CSIR Fellowship/ Associateship held, if any or from other sources/ agencies.
Significant foreign assignments:
(a) Significant contributions to science and/ or technology development by the nominee based on the work done in India during most part of last 5 years:
Prof. Avinash Kumar Agarwal has done significant and innovative research related to IC engines, combustion, alternate fuels and emission control with Industrial outlook in last five years. His major contributions are:  Optical Engines: He has setup two unique Single Cylinder Optical Research Engines (GDI and CRDI), wherein fundamental Science based research on engine combustion is carried out in transparent engines for the first time in India. Optical diagnostics techniques such as time-resolved 2D, 3D, and Tomographic PIV, and engine endoscopy are customised and deployed to understand in-cylinder flows with an objective of improving combustion and reducing emissions. Phase Doppler Interferrometry (PDI) is employed to understand the science of spray dynamics (Diesel, Biodiesel and SVOs), improve injector nozzle designs, and develop new injection strategies for Indian Automotive Sector.  Alternate Fuels: He carried out extensive research on engine combustion, performance, emissions, wear and durability aspects of various alternative fuels such as biodiesel, alcohols, gasohols. Laboratory tests were followed by successful field-trials of biodiesel (B100) fuelled SUV. This was a major milestone for biodiesel‘s acceptance in India. He designed, and patented a biodiesel pilot-plant for KVIC, Mumbai and an innovative hardware for utilising straight vegetable oils (SVOs) as fuel in gensets and agricultural engines directly. These studies were used in making National Biofuels Policy of India, in 2009-10. He wrote a single authored paper on ‗biofuels‘ published in Progress in Energy and Combustion Science (I.F. 20.320), which is one of the highest cited (1100+ times) paper of the journal.  Locomotive Research: He developed first prototype of ALCO-DLW locomotive using Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) system for Indian Railways in 2011, which delivered > 4% fuel savings and > 70% lower particulate emissions in commercial service. India is the forth region in the world to develop and use EFI locomotives and this technology has been accepted by Indian Railways for serial production (Letters from Indian Railways attached: Page 132, 133). Further development of CRDI locomotive and LNG fuelled locomotive technology is underway.  Laser Ignition: Fundamental science based investigations of laser ignition in a constant volume combustion chamber led to development of next generation hydrogen/ CNG engine fuelled laser ignited engine prototype. He implemented ―laser ignition‖ of combustible mixtures in automotive engine by generating extremely intense plasma (106 K, 104 bar) using customised laser spark plug and achieved >70% NOx reduction without after-treatment.  Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) Combustion and Engine Tribology: Close-loop control of HCCI engine is one of the most challenging automotive problem. Close-loop control of methanol, ethanol, gasoline and diesel fuelled HCCI engine with > 95% reductions in PM and NOx was achieved in his laboratory. His research studies on engine tribology, wear and effect of fuels on lubricating oil quality, health and residual life are vital for developing next generation efficient/ durable engines.  Particulate Emissions and Control: He extensively investigated the scientific aspects of relative toxicity of primary and secondary particulates emitted by diesel/ biodiesel fuelled engines, which include nano-particulate size-number distribution, composition, toxicology, morphology, and PAH determination. He then developed an innovative nonnoble metal based low-cost diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) to control particulate emissions and reduce their toxicity.
(b) Impact of the contributions in the field concerned:
Prof. Avinash Kumar Agarwal has carried out both, fundamental as well as innovative, industrially relevant applied research in the area of IC engines, alternative fuels and emission control. Basic Research  Optical Diagnostics: Prof. Agarwal developed two modern optical research engine test facilities, one having common rail direct injection (CRDI) engine and the other one having gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine. These engines have glass liner so that one can visualize the combustion in the engine combustion chamber. These are unique research engines in the country. Fundamental research is carried out in these engines for improving fuel economy, and reducing emissions for the Indian Automotive Industry as well as answering some fundamental questions based on scientific approach and advanced physics based optical techniques. Prof. Agarwal has carried out experiments for developing fundamental understanding of in-cylinder flows and fuel spray droplet distribution in the combustion chamber using these optical research engines, by employing 2D, 3D and tomographic particle imaging velocimetry (PIV) technique. Extremely high rep rate lasers (20 KHz), high speed cameras and data acquisition systems were used for these fundamental scientific studies for accurate flow measurement for engine optimization i.e. for enhancing power output, fuel economy, and emission control. Air-flow structures in the engine combustion chamber significantly influence fuel-air mixing. In these experiments, highly swirling air-flow patterns were discovered, which were dominant in the vicinity of valves. Swirling patterns were significantly influenced by the engine speed. Average structure of the flow field was analyzed, which showed a clear orientation of the average velocity that changed in different phases of the thermodynamic cycle. Engine speed affected all velocity components (Vx, Vy and Vz) as well. Vorticity analysis showed that higher vorticity beneath the intake valve affected the turbulence.  Laser Ignition: Prof. Agarwal carried out fundamental scientific research to understand the ‗laser ignition‘ of methane-air or hydrogen-air mixtures in a customized constant volume combustion chamber (CVCC). Laser was used to generate plasma, which has the potential to ignite extremely lean fuel-air mixtures, which were otherwise un-ignitable by conventional spark plugs, thus pushing the lean limits of an engine, and bringing it closer to ideal cycle thermal efficiencies. Combustion of very lean fuel-air mixtures lead to highly efficient combustion and extremely low NOx emissions, thus eliminating the need for exhaust gas after-treatment. He captured the laser ignited flame-front evolution from lean fuel-air mixtures using Schileren/ Shadowgraphy techniques and analyzed these images for flame velocities in different directions and studied scientific aspects of the ―Laser Ignition‖. Fundamental understanding of flame evolution and flame propagation rates is important for developing a prototype engine deploying laser ignition technology. Finally, this fundamental science based study led to development of a customized laser spark plug and a prototype technology demonstrator engine using laser ignition of hydrogen-air and methane-air mixtures. This demonstration paved way for development of next generation hydrogen engine for the automotive sector, which will be able to comply with Euro-VI and higher future emission norms and realize the dream of hydrogen economy. Applied Research  Biofuels: Prof. Agarwal carried out extensive studies on biodiesel produced from different Indian feedstocks.
Places where work of last 5 years has been referred/ cited in Books, Reviews:
(i). Paper Cited
(ii). Book Cited
Names of the industries in which the technology (ies) has (have) been used :
The achievements already been recognised by Awards by any learned body:
The Awardee a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy/Indian Academy of Sciences/National Academy of Sciences/Others:
The Awardee delivered invited lecture(s) in India/abroad and/or chaired any scientific Internatiional Conference Symposium:
List of Awardee's 10 most significant publications.
List of Awardee's 5 most significant publications during the last 5 years
List of Awardee's 5 most significant publications from out of work done in India during the last five years:
Complete list of publications in standard refereed journals:
Complete list of publications with foreign collaborators (indicating your status as author):
List of papers published in Conferences /Symposia/ Seminars, etc:
List of the most outstanding Technical Reports/ Review Articles:
Statement regarding collaboration with scientists abroad:
List of Patents taken
Total number of patents granted in last five years.
Details of Books published:

Contact Details

  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
    Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
    Kanpur - 208016
  • 0512-2597982
  • 0512-2597408
  • akag[at]iitk[dot]ac[dot]in
29 Mar 2017, http://ssbprize.gov.in/Content/Detail.aspx?AID=516