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2023 Early Career Impact Award

December 1, 2023

Eric Karp (Ph.D. '12)

Chief Technology Officer & Co-founder, Crysalis Biosciences

Eric Karp


Eric Karp is an emerging leader in the clean energy transition.

Eric earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder before pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Washington. After completing his doctoral degree, Eric worked extensively with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. As a chemical engineer, he assisted in the development of a more sustainable method of producing materials like carbon fiber using bio-based chemicals.

Now, he has taken his extensive knowledge in biochemicals and his passion for cutting carbon emissions on an industry level a step further. Along with co-founder Sanket Gandhi, Eric Karp has started a new company called Crysalis Biosciences. By repurposing a former ethanol plant just east of Saint Louis, this new company will be among the first of its kind to produce environmentally-friendly aviation fuel. 

“We expect to produce approximately 30 million gallons a year of sustainable aviation fuel,” says Eric. The plant will also be the first low-carbon production facility for biobased acetonitrile, a chemical with high demand in the pharmaceutical and battery industries.

Not only will sustainable aviation fuel help to curb carbon emissions from the aviation industry, but the production process will be near net-zero as well. Combined heat and power for the chemical plant itself will come from converting waste on site. 

“I think there is a huge opportunity within the field of chemical engineering in general to have a positive impact on climate change. There is a huge push, not just societally, but specifically within chemical engineering, that this change needs to happen. And given that corporations and large chemical companies produce about 70% of the global warming carbon emissions, just modifying the way that chemicals like fuel are produced can have a huge impact.”

With over a decade of experience in biofuels and the end-to-end bioprocess development, Eric has more than 36 peer-reviewed publications and multiple patents in biomanufacturing that are currently being used. In 2017 he was the recipient of the R&D 100 Award, a prestigious award for honoring the pioneers of revolutionary innovations in science and technology.


UW ChemE established the Early Career Impact Award in 2021 to recognize a graduate within 15 years of receiving their degree who has made significant contributions to engineering in industry, academia, government, or public or volunteer service.