Newsmaker: Dan Schnitzer
Noteworthy: Schnitzer was named to Forbes Magazine's “30 Under 30” list in the energy sector for his work with EarthSpark to make small solar-powered lighting systems and energy-efficient stoves affordable to the people of Haiti. He said the group has established 75 stores around the country to sell products ranging from $10 to $100, made more affordable with the use of financing and micro-payments of a few cents per day.
Education: Bachelor's degree in physics, economics and environmental studies, University of Chicago, 2007; master's degree in engineering and public policy, Carnegie Mellon University, 2011.
Background: Schnitzer's interest in energy goes back at least to his childhood. In eighth grade, his science project distilled ethanol from apple peels and compared its efficiency and byproducts to traditional fossil fuels. In college, he and his classmates designed a small wind turbine that caught the attention of Haitian expatriates; that work led him to start exploring ways to help residents of Haiti light their homes without expensive kerosene fuels. Now a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon, he founded EarthSpark International to help in that mission.
Quote: “I'd realized there was a fundamental problem in the way we produce and consume energy... Energy is something that's really come to the forefront for the country, and for young people.”
— Matthew Santoni