Brian Smithers

Second Place

Prize Awarded:
Open Meadow Middle School
Portland, OR

Project Description:

Students often study the environment in science classes but rarely have the opportunity to personally impact it. Smithers' program, "Waste Not, Want Not: Making Vegetable Bio-fuel from Waste Vegetable Oil", gives at-risk participants in grades sixth through eighth, a chance to develop a usable alternate fuel. This past year at Open Meadow Middle School, his students began making small batches of bio-diesel in the classroom. After developing a processor to handle the production of larger quantities of the bio-diesel, the students made 135 gallons of the fuel. The idea behind the project for the 2006-2007 school year is to make enough fuel to replace all of the school's unleaded fuel vehicles with those operated by diesel fuel. Smithers and his class want to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that the school consumes. He and his students will also examine ways to sell the surplus fuel. This will demonstrate the importance of scientific innovation and its economic benefits. Smithers resides in Portland.