environmental engineer Kartik Chandran,
41, has been named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow and provided with a 'genius' grant
Chandran, an IIT Roorkee graduate, has won the fellowship for his work in “transforming wastewater from a pollutant requiring disposal to a resource for useful products, such as commodity chemicals, energy sources, and fertilisers.” Currently an associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University, Chandran imaginatively tailors his solutions to be locally appropriate. He deals with waste-water treatment with the goal of producing useful resources such as fertilizers, chemicals and energy sources, in addition to clean water, in a way that takes into account the climate, energy and nutrient challenges being faced today.
Chandran's research is that certain combinations of mixed microbial communities, similar to those which occur naturally, can be used to mitigate the harmful environmental impacts of waste-water and extract useful products.
The Wall Street Journal said, “Chandran's pioneering work is a sort of modern-day alchemy, using microbial ecology, molecular biology and engineering to turn human waste into clean water and usable fertilizer”.
Chandran joins a distinguished group of 24 talented people who have all established exceptional originality and dedication to their creative pursuits, as well as a marked capacity for self-direction.