Rakesh Agarwal, a Professor at Purdue University, will receive the U.S. National Medal for Technology and Innovation, which is the nation's highest honour for technological achievement.

The purpose of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation is to recognize those who have made lasting contributions to America's competitiveness, standard of living and quality of life through technological innovation and to recognize those who have made substantial contributions to strengthening the nation's technological workforce, said the United States Patent and Trademark Office in a statement.

According to the statement published by The White House Tuesday, Agarwal was selected for an extraordinary record of innovations in improving the energy efficiency and reducing the cost of gas liquefaction and separation. These innovations have had significant positive impacts on electronic device manufacturing, liquefied gas production, and the supply of industrial gases for diverse industries.

The award, which is an annual one, has honoured 468 distinguished scientists and engineers to date.  

The Indian-origin chemical engineer has 116 U.S. patents and almost 500 non-U.S. patents to his name. His list of awards is equally enviable. He indicated that he wished to share the credit of earning the nation's highest honor with his wife, colleagues and to his obsession about his work.

The news has not sunk in, said an elated Agarwal.

Agrawal, 57, joined Purdue University in 2004 and is currently working on renewable energy, including the conversion of biomass to liquid fuels and creating cost-efficient solar cells.

Each of these extraordinary scientists, engineers, and inventors is guided by a passion for innovation, a fearlessness even as they explore the very frontiers of human knowledge, and a desire to make the world a better place. Their ingenuity inspires us all to reach higher and try harder, no matter how difficult the challenges we face, said President Obama in his statement Tuesday.

Other recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation award are: Jayant Baliga (North Carolina State University), Donald Bateman (Honeywell), Yvonne C. Brill (RCA Astro Electronics) and Michael F. Tompsett (TheraManager).

The awards will be presented at a ceremony in the White House later this year.