Going green with algae among innovations featured at school science fair
Six students from eastern Newfoundland will be chosen to go to national fair
Bring a baking-soda-and-vinegar volcano to this weekend's Eastern Newfoundland Science and Technology Fair in St. John's and you'll be blown out of the competition — by algae.
The annual event, running Friday and Saturday at Waterford Valley High School, brings together more than 200 Grade 7 to 12 students from the Avalon Peninsula selected through their own schools' fairs.
Yvonne Dawe of the Eastern Newfoundland Science Fairs Council says she's seen students' projects become increasingly creative over the 20 years she has been involved with the council.
"You still get some projects that are really showing really good science and scientific method," she said. "What you're also seeing is a lot of innovation, and that's really what we go for."
Algae project built in bedroom
For Aaron Sakar, a competing Grade 10 student from Holy Heart, that means an algae-based system to capture carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, a system he built in his bedroom.
"Right now, fossil fuels are responsible for most of global warming and climate change, and they release a lot of carbon dioxide," he said.
"We're so deep into using fossil fuels that we really can't get out of it. Cars, trains, planes, trucks, everything — we burn fossil fuels and we release carbon dioxide. So why not develop a system [where] we still use fossil fuels, but make it green technology?"
The algae species Sakar is using, nannochloropsis, can be recycled into biofuels, aquafuels, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Winners move on to national fair
Erin Baker of the fair's organizing committee says science fair competition was one of the best experiences of her life. She was sent to the Canada-wide competition in her Grade 12 year.
"At the regional fair, you do get to meet a lot of students and see what they're innovating and see all these crazy things they're coming up with," Baker said.
"But then at the Canada-wide level when you see the best of the best, it kind of gives you a bit more of a drive too, because they're all the top of their region and now you're competing against the best, and the calibre of projects is just completely out of this world entirely."
The competition and judging is Friday, with the public invited to view exhibits from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Six students will be chosen to represent Eastern Newfoundland at the national fair in Ottawa in May.
With files from the St. John's Morning Show