Karthish Manthiram

Karthish Manthiram

Theodore T. Miller Career Development Chair, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
MIT School of Engineering
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Karthish Manthiram is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, as well as the Theodore T. Miller Career Development Chair.

Karthish’s research is focused on creating processes through which nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide, and water can be converted into diverse chemicals and materials. His lab specifically works on creating catalysts powered by renewable electricity that can facilitate bond breaking and making steps that are involved in these next-generation sustainable synthesis routes. The methods developed by his group are amenable to distributed production of a wide range of products, including fertilizers, plastics, and fuels. Key examples developed in his group include routes through which air and water can be converted into ammonia fertilizers at record rates and ways to sustainably produce epoxides using carbon dioxide and water.

Karthish has always been fascinated by electricity, which started with building circuits as a young child in elementary school, then finding an interest in robotics as a means of channeling electrical energy for useful function during high school, and then for the last decade, focusing on how electricity can be used to make and break chemical bonds.

“We can look back to see how electrification has changed and continues to change so many industries: computation, power, and transportation,” he said. “It appears that we are now in an era where chemicals and materials production will undergo a renaissance due to electrification.”

In joining the MCSC Faculty Steering Committee (FSC), Karthish is looking forward to engaging with creative thinkers who are interested in unique solutions and steps forward.

“Consortia are often built to encourage convergent thought among diverse stakeholders; the MCSC has an element of this, but I am also excited that it encourages divergent thought. The MCSC has shown a commitment since its conception to breaking out from conventional means of structuring interactions between industry and academia, creating entirely new mechanisms of engagement that the MCSC is fostering,” Karthish said. “These experiments on new methods of engagement are likely to be of impact beyond the MCSC alone in other areas of pressing societal need.”