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Algae-Powered bio fuel wins a teenager $100,000. What have you done with your life?

intel science talent search

This year’s Intel Science Talent Search had a lot of great entries – research that can lead the way for better treatment of certain types of cancer, low tech plasma pulse generation, and even a computer algorithm that improves robot collision detection.

But the top prize went to a 17 year old girl, Sara Volz, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. She devised a very cool scheme to utilize natural products of algae as a sustainable bio fuel:

Algae produces oil that can be converted into a sustainable, renewable fuel; however, the fuel can be costly. Sara used artificial selection to establish populations of algae cells with high oil content, which are essential for an economically feasible biofuel. Sara, who built a home lab under her loft bed, sleeps on the same light cycle as her algae.

She took home a whopping $100,000, while the second and third place winners (also pictured above) pulled in $75,000 and $50,000 respectively. Either way, even though the monetary prizes are great, the outputs of these events are astounding.

There are a lot of smart kids out there!

[via Intel]