FRIENDSWOOD, TX (KTRK) --He is one of the brightest minds in the energy world and he is only 19 years old. His innovative invention, inspired by the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history, is getting him noticed.
Karan Jerath never forgot the Deepwater Horizon Oil disaster. Eleven people were killed in an explosion that caused an oil gusher that flowed for almost three months.
"It was something that happened in my backyard in the Gulf of Mexico," said Jerath.
The event inspired him to invent a way to shut down any future subsea oil spills.
"My device sits over the spill and collects the three phases of the water, oil and gas as a heterogeneous mixture," said Jerath. "Then through a baffle chamber, as well as temperature density sensors, it separates it into a homogenous mixture at the source to where the oil and gas phase can be recycled."
In 2015, Jerath presented his wellhead containment device at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. He was awarded one of the Young Scientist awards.
"I went through 30 different ideas before finalizing my design," said Jerath.
This year, the University of Texas freshman was selected for Forbes' 2016 30 Under 30 List.
"I was very honored to make it on the Forbes list. It was a very humbling experience and I was just really glad I was considered," said Jerath.
The accomplishment is a source of great pride for his family.
"I think being the youngest, especially in the energy category for Forbes, is a really big deal," said Geetika Jerath, Karan's sister. "I mean everyone else he's been compared to they've had experience; they've graduated from college. However, having him begin at this stage, he has so much more to do. This is just the beginning."
Born in India, Jareth and his family moved to Friendswood after living in Malaysia for several years.
"The main reason to come here was for my children to achieve their dreams. He has more than fulfilled that dream in a short span of time, and we are looking forward to what he achieves in the future," said Vivek Jerath, Karan's father.
The UT petroleum engineering student has some advice for other budding young scientists.
"I would tell younger scientists pursuing STEM that it doesn't really matter how old you are or what your project is. As long as you allow it to become a reality, the world will sit up and notice it," said Jerath.