I am a postdoctoral associate in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative since September 2016. My research focuses on efficient and integrated process design, renewable energy conversion, multi-scale modeling and optimization. Currently, I am working on multi-level systems analysis of carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies and developing a novel modular life cycle analysis tool. I hold a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University. I have received both a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and B.Sc. in Mathematics from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Research Theme

The energy sector is undergoing a major transformation with a grand challenge of meeting the increasing demand while profoundly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The future structure of the global energy system is uncertain and will involve a diverse technology mix. The overarching goal of my research is to address this emerging challenge by deciphering optimal utilization of resources to sustainably meet humanity’s energy, water and food needs through multi-scale mathematical modeling, detailed process simulation, and rigorous optimization while capturing and incorporating real-world dynamics.

Research Summary


  • Recent article published: Directing solar photons to sustainably meet food, energy, and water needs

    Emre Gençer, Caleb Miskin, Xingshu Sun, M. Ryyan Khan, Peter Bermel, M. Ashraf Alam & Rakesh Agrawal, (2017). Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03437-x.


    As we approach a “Full Earth” of over ten billion people within the next century, unprecedented demands will be placed on food, energy and water (FEW) supplies. The grand challenge before us is to sustainably meet humanity’s FEW needs using scarcer resources. To overcome this challenge, we propose the utilization of the entire solar spectrum by redirecting solar photons to maximize FEW production from a given land area. We present novel solar spectrum unbundling FEW systems (SUFEWS), which can meet FEW needs locally while reducing the overall environmental impact of meeting these needs. The ability to meet FEW needs locally is critical, as significant population growth is expected in less-developed areas of the world. The proposed system presents a solution to harness the same amount of solar products (crops, electricity, and purified water) that could otherwise require ~60% more land if SUFEWS were not used—a major step for Full Earth preparedness.

  • Recent Article Published: Strategy to synthesize integrated solar energy coproduction processes with optimal process intensification. Case study: Efficient solar thermal hydrogen production.

    Emre Gençer, Rakesh Agrawal, (2017).  Computers & Chemical Engineering, doi:10.1016/j.enconman.2016.10.068.

     Conventionally each process is operated as a Standalone Process. Our approach will synthesize SEWFAC processes with synergistic integration and process intensification to meet all basic human needs.
    Conventionally each process is operated as a Standalone Process. Our approach will synthesize SEWFAC processes with synergistic integration and process intensification to meet all basic human needs.

    The development and implementation of alternative energy conversion techniques using renewable energy sources is critical for a sustainable economy. Among renewable energy sources, solar energy is prominent due to its abundance. Towards a sustainable economy, this paper presents a process design concept to synthesize Solar Electricity, Water, Food and Chemical (SEWFAC) processes. The proposed approach entails systematic synthesis of energy efficient, synergistic processes incorporating process intensification for optimal utilization of resources. The objective is the development of coproduction processes around the clock on an as-needed basis. A general strategy and detailed analysis to synthesize efficient solar thermal hydrogen production processes through solar thermal power cogeneration. Process simulations and optimizations are performed using an integrated MATLAB and Aspen Plus modeling environment. The proposed process designs are evaluated based on the various metrics introduced. Process designs are estimated to achieve 11% higher exergy efficiency compared to the traditional processes.

  • Recent Article Published: Synthesis of efficient solar thermal power cycles for baseload power supply

    Emre Gençer, Rakesh Agrawal, (2016). Energy Conversion and Management, doi:10.1016/j.enconman.2016.10.068.

    Solar Water Power (SWP) Cycle
    Solar Water Power (SWP) Cycle

    Limited fossil fuel reserves and increasing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels make it essential to develop alternative renewable energy conversion processes to meet energy needs. Advancements in renewable power production are especially important since electric power is the largest consumer of primary energy resources with the highest growth rate among alternate energy use sectors, and is currently responsible for greater than 40% of the global CO2 emissions. Among the renewable energy sources, solar energy is prominent due to its abundance. Here, we introduce an efficient solar thermal power cycle, solar water power (SWP) cycle, with water as the working fluid, which undergoes reheats between expansions. SWP cycle is developed to maximize exergy efficiency, allow flexible operation and process intensification. Simulation and optimization of the SWP cycles are performed in an integrated Aspen Plus/MATLAB modeling environment. Modeling results predict that SWP cycle with 1 solar reheating stage has a potential to generate electricity with sun-to-electricity efficiencies greater than 30% at solar heat collection temperature as low as 750 K. The cycle also promises sun-to-electricity efficiencies in the unprecedented range of 40–46% for the corresponding temperatures above 1400 K. Further efficiency increase is estimated by the addition of more reheating stages.

    List of publications