Sara Volz won the Intel Science Fair competition for her most efficient algae manufacturing process, and she works on this project in her bedroom at home.
If you want to know more young people who invent devices or systems that help the sustainability of the planet you can read these articles: Nepalese teenager invents a solar panel with human hair or Australian young woman invents device that produces energy and clean water with the sun.
Each year, the Intel Science Talent Search honors the brightest high school students for their contributions to the world of mathematics and science in general. Last year, Jack Andraka took first prize for his inexpensive design for highly accurate cancer detection. This time, 17-year-old Sara Volz won for her research on algae biofuels.
Algae has long been the holy grail for biofuel enthusiasts, mainly because it does not require soil like other crops. But until now, companies have found the problem of making biofuel with algae economically profitable, combining labor and production costs, they cannot compete with oil.
Volz tried in his project to find a way to make fuel from algae in a way that economically could compete with oil.
Volz did some of her work in labs, but much of the research took place in her bedroom, where she keeps a home lab under her bed (she sleeps on algae). “I have dangerous chemicals and equipment under my bed.”
This high school student will use her $100,000 from the Intel award to help fund her college education. She plans to attend MIT in the fall.
Volz has not yet thought about commercializing his research, as it is still in the early stages of research, although the first results are spectacular.
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