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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Andrew Perlman, 34

Slashing carbon emissions by converting coal into natural gas

GreatPoint Energy

One of the biggest challenges in fighting global warming is reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal, a cheap and abundant but dirty fuel. In 2004, serial entrepreneur Andrew Perlma­n founded GreatPoint Energy to commercialize a process for converting coal into methane (the main component of natural gas), which emits half as much carbon dioxide when burned to generate a given amount of electricity. The carbon dioxide that's produced in the conversion process is easy to capture for storage underground. GreatPoint, where Perlman is president and CEO, has built a demonstration plant in Somerse­t, MA, and plans to build its first commercial plant as soon as next year. Meanwhile, Perlman has cofounded additional ventures that are developing, among other things, cheaper desalination plants, antiobesity medicines, drugs that fight diseases of old age, and processes for converting garbage into bio­fuels and generating electricity by extracting heat from rocks located miles underground. -Kevin Bullis

2009 TR35 Winners

Ranjan Dash

Nanoporous carbon could help power hybrid cars

Cody Friesen (video)

Making cheaper, higher-energy batteries to store renewable energy

Kurt Zenz House

Capturing carbon dioxide through cement production

Andrew Perlman (video)

Slashing carbon emissions by converting coal into natural gas

Cyrus Wadia

Identifying materials that could be unexpectedly useful in solar cells

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