Karthish Manthiram • TEDxMIT
Electrification and Decarbonization of Chemical Manufacturing
Chemicals and materials we use in our everyday lives, including fertilizers, plastics, paints, and fibers, have a significant carbon footprint behind them. We envision a future involving electrification of chemical manufacturing - the power of the sun could be used to make all the chemicals and materials we use in our everyday lives. In this paradigm, renewable power drives the conversion of carbon dioxide, dinitrogen, and water, ubiquitous feedstocks that can be obtained from air, water, and point sources of exhaust, to produce diverse chemicals and materials. Our lab has shown a prototype to produce fertilizers from air and water using electricity at ambient conditions. This provides a platform which can be applied to many other critical chemicals and materials. Achieving deep decarbonization of chemical manufacturing will require the most brilliant minds to form a coalition of entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, policy makers, and educators in order to secure a sustainable world.