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.
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