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High school student creates new algae to biofuel method

Jun. 21, 2013 - A 16-year-old high school student has created, after four years, a new way to grow algae, extract the oil and use it as biodiesel.

Evie Sobczak, a senior at Shorecrest Prepatory School in St. Petersberg, Florida, has been interested in generating power from renewable sources. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Sobczak started her experiments in grade five with a fruit-powered clock.

"After four years of tinkering in her garage for about an hour each day, Sobczak finally figured it out. Her algae-to-fuel project won first place and best in category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, beating 1,600 other finalists from 70 countries."

The project - Algae to Oil via Photoautotrophic Cultivation and Osmotic Sonication - does not use any harmful chemicals and is 20 per cent more efficient that current methods. In addition to winning a bevy of awards and scholarships, Sobczak also received a trip to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, where the Mars rover is piloted. 

Sobczak hopes to get into Columbia Unviersity or MIT for biochemical engineering and work with other scientists to create algal biofuel.

June 21, 2013  By David Manly


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