Every school and county in the country has an annual science fair that brings some of the best ideas of our kids to the forefront. Past science fairs have resulted in an array of tools and uses that are being instituted into local governments and businesses. Some have discovered an easy way to detect breast cancer, others to measure the amount of medication in our potable water systems. The topics of the submissions in each science fair covers the gamut, from environment to space and even including psychology and the human body functions. In Colorado Springs, Colorado, a budding genius has created an algae biofuel that she grew under her bed.

Sara Volz began her quest to discover an alternative biofuel based on algae when she was in seventh grade. She continued her journey with experiment after experiment, attempting to find algae cells that contained a high volume of oil. While this has long been the basis for much scientific research by many of world’s greatest companies and organizations, they faced the hurtle of locating algae cells that would produce oil on a level that would be cost effective enough to use as a world biofuel. Some scientists pursed the possibility of changing the actual algae genome, but again, the price tag on this path of research was far too high to produce a biofuel that was within a balanced price range. Sara set up a laboratory under her bed, with flasks and microscopes to attempt to locate an algae biofuel. She approached this process by using an herbicide that would kill off any algae that was not high in oil content. The results of her experiment, which has lasted over a number of years, has offered a specific algae with a very high oil content that can be converted and used as an energy biofuel. Her discovery has landed her the winning title at the Intel Science Talent Search and a $100,000 scholarship.

Sara won’t have to continue her experiments under her bed, as she will now have access to the incredible lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/futureoftech/whiz-kid-grows-algae-under-her-bed-wins-intel-science-1C8835461

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3 Responses to “Algae Biofuel Created by Intel Science Fair Winning Whiz Kid”

  1. 1
    MightyFine Says:

    I think the annual science fairs aren’t given enough attention in the communities. Every year I hear about a really great discovery that a kid with imagination and guts to follow through submitted. Many of these may go on to bigger shows, but there are some that never see the light of day and have the potential for greatness. We need to turn our focus on more of the science fair exhibits so that everyone can benefit from what they kids bring to the table; especially the future of the kids themselves.

  2. 2
    GoodParent Says:

    With all of the school system budget cuts around the nation, this young lady really showed that she could do something that can make a difference. She is a true example of excellence and she has made her teachers and parents proud. Let’s hope someone takes advantage of the biofuel discovery.

  3. 3
    ScienceRules Says:

    Kudos to Sara for her diligence, ingenuity and patience to follow through on her science project. We need kids like this to continue to be encouraged, even when the odds seem stacked against them. Who would have thought that an experiment, accomplished in such a strange place, would result in an outcome so fantastic.

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