16-year-old turns algae into biofuel, makes rest of us feel unaccomplished
Evie Sobczak is a young science rock star who has already done more in her 16 years than most of us will in our entire lives (I KNOW, I should speak for myself):
For a fifth-grade science fair, Evie Sobczak found that the acid in fruit could power clocks; she connected a cut-up orange to a clock with wire and watched it tick. In seventh grade, she generated power by engineering paddles that could harness wind. And in eighth grade, she started a project that eventually would become her passion: She wanted to grow algae and turn it into biofuel.
And she totally did. Sobczak engineered all of her equipment herself, creating a totally chemical-free way to grow algae, extract the oil, and use it as biodiesel. Plus, her process produced as much as 20 percent more oil than current methods, which could make algae biofuel cheaper. She recently won first place at Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair for her process, which is a big deal because, as Sobczak says, “It’s like the biggest science fair ever.” As she says in a video for Intel:
I really believe algae could be our next fuel source because it doesn’t take a lot of land and it doesn’t take away from our food source. And if you use my processes, you don’t use any chemicals, so it’s not harming our environment. I live in Florida, so we have a lot of algae problems, so I thought why not use something negative to help our world?
Watch her awesomeness:
And no matter what you think about algae, it’s rad to see a young woman totally kick ass in a field where women are hugely underrepresented (fewer than 1 in 4 environmental scientists is female). YOU GO, GIRL.
- Teen's biofuel invention turns algae into fuel , Tampa Bay Times