Teenage Inventions such as the Algae Mobile

The future of our planet will depend on the generations that come after us. For many teenagers in schools around the country, teachers and other school officials have one common goal; to inspire our children to become leaders in the advancement of environmental awareness and sustainability.

Last year, eight young people from across the globe began researching solutions for problems that are of deep concern within their local communities. Many of these students turned to teachers and experts for advice and information on how they could bring their ideas to fruition and develop new technologies. The students are working towards one common goal and are committed to making the world a better place to live for themselves and the generations to follow.

One student from Kenya, along with four of his companions began collecting and harvested waste products from within their school to turn into eco-friendly cooking fuel. Called a Human Waste Bioreactor (HWB), the machine is designed to collect waste from the kitchen and student living areas before being mixed with cow dung and grass in an underground chamber. Microorganisms that feed on the waste release a biogas of renewable energy that can power non-electric stoves.

Closer to home in Texas, one 17-year-old high school senior developed a device that he calls the “Algae Mobile”. Algae are placed inside the machine where it converts carbon dioxide into oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. Car drivers can place the tube into the car’s exhaust system and simply wait for nature to run its course. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized the device with a sustainability award.

Further afield in Nepal, an 18 year old student discovered that melanin (human hair pigments) can be used to replace the use of silicon in solar panels. The invention has made the possibility of solar panels becoming available to poorer communities across the world one step closer to becoming a reality.

Four 15 year old girls from Nigeria grew up in an area that has very limited access to natural resources. They had one common goal; create an alternative energy solution for their small community. They developed a generator powered by urine for individual family use. The generator is designed to extract hydrogen from urine which can be used as fuel to produce as much as six hours of electricity per day.

One student in California made the decision to devote his time to help solve some of the issues being caused by drought in his immediate area. Preserving water has become a necessity as the state experiences its fifth year of drought. The development of a water fence has helped homeowners to provide irrigation to their yards without unnecessary waste of water. The student has received help from local businesses and he is currently working with the local government to add his water fence to a list of sustainable solutions in the area.

How can you inspire your children to become passionate about the environment and sustainability? Look for opportunities online and help your child to excel by providing them with reading material and encourage their ideas to preserve and invent alternative forms of resources.