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Two Marvin Ridge Students Compete for National Recognition, "Change the World," and Win Scholarship Award

2008: Beijing, China. Olympians are lined up at a starting line for a race. Many are nervous about their ability to perform. Not because they haven’t performed impeccably before; no, they are nervous because of the smog, filling their lungs and making each breath disgustingly painful.

2014: New Delhi, India. Step off of a plane into a crowded airport. You don’t notice the tapestry first. You don’t notice the noise first. You don’t notice the temperature. You notice the stifling air first. You notice the sudden inability to draw a normal breath. You notice fine particles of dust creeping into your lungs.

These stories of smog and particulate pollution ought to be familiar environmentalist ramblings for the entire community, part of a larger trend in climate change. Implicated in that climate change, perhaps most responsible for modern temperature spikes, is the rapid accumulation of carbon dioxide--CO2--in the atmosphere due to fossil fuel burning. Current scientific solutions have focused entirely on creating alternative energy sources, but those solutions are at least ten years away from implementation. The human race needs a stepping stone.

Aniket Palkar and Prakash Mishra decided the solution to this issue was in the use of natural biological processes to curb CO2 emissions. They designed a piston-style catalytic converter which sits comfortably on the exhaust of the average household car which harnesses the photosynthetic power of algae to convert CO2 into clean oxygen, O2. To test the viability of the piston, they simulated the pressurization effect of a moving piston by creating a “u-tube” design. This design eliminated over 21 moles of  CO2, a sizeable majority of the emissions. This rough design was intended to be the inefficient prototype, meaning the version which was designed would, as proven by mathematical pressure analysis, provide an improvement on this number.

This solution was revolutionary and to begin spreading the word the team used various science fairs as platforms to raise awareness in the scientific community. They intend to crowdfund the further development of the second, more efficient piston design, and then present this design to corporations who can have it implemented in household cars.

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Editor's Note:  Prakash and Aniket won second place, which included sharing in $25,000 in Scholarship Awards.  Marvin Ridge High School was the recipient of $2500 for Science and Math Education from Siemens.  

Written by: Prakash Mishra, Marvin Ridge Junior
Posted: May 03, 2014 by Lisa Justice

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