The Department of Chemical Engineering was established in 1963 with an Undergraduate programme in Chemical Engineering. A Master’s course in Equipment and Plant Design was initiated in 1970. Later on, two new Master’s courses namely Industrial Pollution Abatement and Advanced Transfer Processes were inducted. Subsequently, the specialisation of Equipment and Plant Design was redesigned, updated and re-christened as Computer Aided Process Plant Design. At present, the Department is running three post-graduate programmes leading to M.Tech. (Chem.) degree with specialization in Computer Aided Process Plant Design, Industrial Pollution Abatement and Industrial Safety & Hazards Management. A five-year integrated programme on Hydrocarbon Engineering offering dual degree of B.Tech. (Chem. Engg.) and M.Tech. (Hydrocarbon Engineering) has been started from the session 2003-04 . The Department offers high level research programme in diverse areas of Chemical Engineering. It has been providing consultancy to chemical and allied industries in several areas.
The Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT, Roorkee is a comparatively smaller department, but offers large number of academic programmes with a large output of B.Tech and PG/Research students. It is the first department in the country to have started an innovative Masters programme in Industrial Pollution Abatement and Industrial Safety and Hazards Management. It is also the first department in the country to have started an integrated Dual Degree programme with Masters Programme in Hydrocarbon Engineering. The department has set very high standards in teaching and has engaged in useful and high level research exemplified by research papers in high impact peer-reviewed journals. Since the transformation of the University of Roorkee into an IIT, the Department has been engaged in the development of academic teaching and research infrastructure, creation of laboratories in analytical/instrumental analysis, modeling and simulation, safety and hydrocarbon engineering. The recent developments in sister disciplines and biological sciences have been imbedded in the curricular structure and are being adopted in our research activities.
The department is actively engaged in research in a number of areas. However, it has consciously taken a decision to strengthen research activity in the area of Environmental Engineering with a view to develop practical solutions to environmental problems faced by industries and the municipalities. Environmental Technology is a major challenge to Chemical Engineering because of the global concern for environmentally sustainable development. In the area of Environmental Engineering and Technology, we are focusing on the following areas:
Environmental Engineering & Management: The Department has been actively engaged in research in the areas of risk & hazard analysis for chemical, petroleum, petrochemical & allied industries, development of low cost treatment technology, life cycle assessment, biological and physico-chemical treatment of wastewaters, and VOC control technology.
A number of M.Tech./Ph.Ds have been produced in the area of wet air oxidation, decolourisation and detoxification of wastewater, electrocoagulation and electro-chemical treatment of industrial wastewater, automobile exhaust control, catalyst development, VOC control by biofiltration, modeling and simulation, design of wastewater treatment systems and air pollution control equipment, solid waste management, etc. The department has gained considerable expertise in the treatment of high-strength and toxic wastewaters. The academic and research capabilities have been enriched through our M.Tech and Ph.D programmes.
Biochemical Processing of Wastes: The department has been working in the area of biochemical engineering for the development of new chemicals and products, basic engineering aspects in the design of bioreactors, biogasification of industrial and domestic wastes and cattle dungs, biosorption of toxic and volatile matter, etc. The Department has produced a number of M.Tech and Ph.D theses in various areas of biochemical engineering, including process development and environmental biotechnology. A number of biogas projects sponsored by the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES), Government of India.
Biomass Gasification: A very active and intensive research in the area of thermal processing of biomass materials and industrial wastes is being carried out in the department. A number of agri and forestry wastes like bagasse, rice husk, saw dust, pine needles, etc. and industrial waste like press mud from sugar mills have been used in thermal processing. Several reactor configurations like downdraft gasifiers, fluidized bed reactors and fixed bed reactors have been used in lab-scale experiments.
The department is actively working on the thermal processing of biomass to derive gaseous and liquid fuels and char in downdraft reactor and fixed and fluidized bed reactors. Basic research to understand the fluidization characteristics of different biomass materials in different size ranges, with and without solid carriers, is intensively pursued. Work on the kinetics of slow and fast pyrolysis and oxidation characteristics of biomass and industrial wastes is also being carried out. A number of M.Tech and Ph.D students are working in this area.
Process Modelling and Simulation: We have been working in these areas since long. Currently we are running a M.Tech programme in Computer Aided Process Plant Design and working in the area of modeling of thermal cracking processes, fire propagation and mitigations, high pressure catalytic reactors, immobilized whole cell bioreactors, CFD based modeling and analysis of chemical reactors, separation systems and thermal crackers, multiple effect evaporators, heat exchangers, etc.
Catalyst Development and Environmental Catalysis: The department is actively engaged in the area of novel catalyst development for use in environmental catalysis. A number of catalysts have been developed for automobile exhaust, control, wet air oxidation and thermolysis. We are closely collaborating with the Department of Chemistry in this area.