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15 Year Old Invents Algae-Powered Energy System

Posted By Ariel Schwartz On June 24, 2009 @ 10:30 am In Environment,Renewable Energy | 4 Comments

algae, alternative energy, change, methane, playpump, versatile system, Javier Fernández-Han, sustainable design, renewable energy [1]

Thanks to 15 year old Texan Javier Fernández-Han [2], we feel a little more hopeful about the next generation’s ability to adapt to a world of limited resources. The high school student developed a fully featured algae-powered energy system that combines a dozen new and existing technologies to treat waste, produce methane and bio-oil for fuel, produce food for humans and livestock, sequester greenhouse gases, and produce oxygen. Dubbed the VERSATILE system [2], the project is this year’s winner of the annual Invent Your World Challenge [3] $20,000 scholarship.

algae, alternative energy, change, methane, playpump, versatile system, Javier Fernández-Han, sustainable design, renewable energy

Fernández-Han’s Versatile System consists of six subsystems [3]: An anaerobic digester for sewage and food scraps, a bio-gas upgrader to turn gases from the digester into food for the algae, vented methane burning stoves, a CO2-capturing device, algae bioreactors to produce algae biomass and oxygen from sunlight, saltwater, and CO2, flush latrines, and the PlayPump [4], which uses energy derived from children playing to power the system.

According to Fernández-Han, the modular system is targeted at developing countries that need self-contained sources of power and waste disposal [2]. The budding inventor envisions African villages lit up by the Playpump’s LEDs, with excess methane to sell for income, reduced air pollution — thanks to methane burning stoves, and increased affordability of goats, pigs, and fish due to the availability of algae as feed. A scaled-down version of the system for a small house or apartment could cost as little as $200.

The algae-powered system [5] hasn’t yet been built, however, and skeptics will remain until it is. Even if Fernández-Han’s design doesn’t pan out as planned, we’re thoroughly impressed by his innovative spirit.

+ Invent Your World Challenge [3]

Article printed from Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building: http://inhabitat.com

URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/versatile-system-by-javier-fernandez-han/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/?p=35590

[2] Javier Fernández-Han: http://socialentrepreneurship.change.org/blog/view/youth_taking_action_a_15_year_old_invents_the_future

[3] Invent Your World Challenge: http://genvcampaigns.org/campaigns/invent/

[4] PlayPump: http://www.inhabitots.com/2009/03/05/play-pump-the-merry-go-round-water-pump/

[5] algae-powered system: http://cleantechnica.com/2009/06/09/15-year-old-invents-complete-algae-energy-system/

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