17-Year-Old Builds Algae Biofuel Lab in Her Bedroom to Win Intel Science Talent Search Prize

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Congratulations to 17 year old Sara Volz, this year’s winner of the Intel Science Talent Search. Sara won the grand prize with her project, which enables maximum biofuel production using a method she invented in her bedroom underneath a lofted bed! From Inhabitat:

As dedicated a scientist as her adult colleagues, Sara Volz took to sleeping with the same light cycles that her algae required to grow. In a homemade lab under her loft bed, Volz grew algae in a medium containing the pesticide sethoxydim to kill the algae that produced low levels of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase), an enzyme that is important in lipid synthesis. The remaining algae could produce substantial amounts of oil that could make the biofuel commercially viable in the future. Since algae requires little land mass and comparatively few inputs to sustain, the biofuel stands as a great renewable alternative to petroleum.

The Intel Science Talent Search included seven other finalists, among them young researchers who received a combined $1.25 million by the Intel Foundation for their efforts. Society for Science & the Public has held the competition since 1942. “Society for Science & the Public is proud to join Intel in congratulating Sara Volz for her scientific accomplishments,” said Elizabeth Marincola, president of the organization. “Sara’s work demonstrates how a young person who is fascinated by science, which she has been since a kindergarten science fair, can work with few sophisticated resources and have real impact on society.”

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