He isn’t old enough to vote… But Javier Fernández-Han is already making a difference in the world… And, his work has landed him on Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 list, which celebrates the people who aren’t waiting to reinvent the world.
The 17-year-old young scientist from Texas—the son of immigrants from China and Mexico—made the list after developing an inventive way of using of algae to digest sewage and capture methane for use as fuel.
At the young age of 14, Fernández-Han has even founded an organization called “Inventors Without Borders” to “bring innovative solutions to real-world problems in rural, poverty-stricken areas,” according to a report by NBC Latino.
Fernández-Han—recognized as one of the nation’s top high school inventors by Popular Science magazine for the second year in a row—hopes to tackle some of the world’s hardest problems with his inventions. His recent work would convert energy from food scraps and sewage into clean energy for families in the third world.
“I like inventing. So I applied that to actually trying to help the poor with my inventions,” he said in an interview on YouTube.
Javier’s father, Peter Han, credits his son’s success in part to the emphasis as parents Han and his wife placed on creativity and innovation. Javier’s father is the owner of a creative learning company, and has even given a TED talk on the value of innovation in raising children.
The father and son duo are even co-developing “a series of toolkits and learning programs to invent better ideas faster,” according to the TED YouTube channel.