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### Innovations in 2024: Enhancing Sustainability with Eco-Friendly Plastics, Securing AI, and Pioneering Martian Dwellings

These researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs are making discoveries and inventing new solutions i…

By Alex Knapp, Kate Gammon and Katie Jennings Lana Yu recognizes the formidable challenge of competing against the massive plastics industry. At 29 years old, she emphasizes the importance of providing a unique value proposition. This is where her company, Genecis Bioindustries, steps in. By utilizing bioreactors that employ bacteria to transform food waste into functional plastics, Genecis offers a distinct advantage. These plastics exhibit superior qualities in specific sectors such as the medical field, in addition to biodegrading over a shorter period, unlike traditional plastics that take decades or even centuries to break down.

Currently, Genecis primarily produces raw materials for medical device manufacturers and the cosmetics sector, generating \(5 million in revenue last year. However, Yu envisions broader horizons for the company. In the upcoming year, Genecis plans to introduce its own line of consumer products within the food and beverage industry. Bolstering her vision are investors such as Amazon and Khosla Ventures, who have collectively injected \)17 million into the Toronto-based company.

Yu stands out among the trailblazers featured in this year’s 30 Under 30 Science list. Over the past decade, Forbes has showcased young scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs based on public nominations. To qualify for this year’s list, candidates must have been under 30 years old as of December 31, 2023, and not previously recognized in the 30 Under 30 lists for North America, Europe, or Asia.

A distinguished panel of judges, including Ritu Raman, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT and a past honoree; Baratunde Cole, the founder of materials science startup Cabrice; and Joshua Modell, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University specializing in Crispr research, evaluated the candidates.

Yu is not the sole honoree this year with a focus on sustainability. Noteworthy individuals include Thomas Storwick, 27, and Kelly Zheng, 28, whose company, Coastal Carbon, leverages satellite imagery and AI to assist seaweed farmers in claiming carbon credits. Additionally, Elliot Chang, 29, secured a $12 million series A funding round for his company, Eion, aimed at advancing the process of converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into minerals for industrial use. Moreover, Matthew Clarke, 29, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Champaign, concentrates on designing more sustainable aircraft to mitigate carbon emissions.

The list also highlights innovators dedicated to space exploration. For instance, Sergio Gallucci, 28, founded Scout Space to aid satellites in navigating the increasingly crowded Earth orbit using sensors and autonomous navigation systems. Clare Luckey, 29, co-leads a NASA team tasked with planning human habitats on Mars. Meanwhile, at Harvard, Hao Geng, 29, delves into research on quantum gravity and the physics of black holes.

Geng is not the sole physicist featured on the list. In Cambridge, Cari Cesarotti, 28, collaborates on a groundbreaking particle collider project at MIT aimed at unraveling mysteries of subatomic physics. Additionally, Bharath Kannan, 28, secured $9 million in funding for his company, Atlantic Quantum, dedicated to developing a novel architecture for quantum computing. Thomas González Roberts, 29, utilizes physics principles to monitor satellites in orbit, ensuring compliance with international regulations. His insights have influenced decision-makers at the United Nations, the U.S. Air Force, and Congress on space governance.

These exceptional individuals represent just a fraction of the remarkable finalists on this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Science list. Explore their profiles and discover more about all the honorees across the various categories for 30 Under 30 2024.

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Last modified: February 18, 2024
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