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In the eighth grade, Evie Sobczak, now 16, decided her goal was to grow algae at home and covert it into biofuel. She spent the next four years tinkering in her garage, and created a chemical free-way to do just that, calling her project: Algae to Oil via Photoautotrophic Cultivation and Osmotic Sonication.

A mouthful, perhaps, but the science community was impressed.

Evie won first place and best in category Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, considered the most prestigious science fair in the world. Her prize includes a three-day visit to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, which controls the Mars Rover. Also promising: it appears Evie’s invention is 20 per cent more efficient than the current means of creating biofuel – which relies on potentially environmentally harmful chemicals.

Why algae? Research shows it has the potential to become a major energy source. And for Evie, it seems living in Florida also gave her inspiration:

All these Floridians think that algae is bad because it causes red tide, but it can be used as a positive to help our environment and our economy,” she told TampaBay.com.

16-year-old’s Invention Turns Algae Into Biofuel

Want more? Read about 18-year-old Eesha Khare’s supercapacitor!

sources: Boing Boing + TampaBay.com

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