Santa Cruz Tech Beat

Santa Cruz Tech Ecosystem

Local student improves method to make fuel, wins international award

by Kara Guzman
Santa Cruz Sentinel

At 3 a.m. on a school night, after countless hours cooking chemicals in her garage, Hailey Loehde-Woolard accidentally discovered a new way to make alternative fuel.

Hailey Loehde-Woolard, the Gold Medal winner of the International Environment Sustainability Project Olympiad, shows off her trophy and certificate on Monday. (photo credit: Emma Brokaw, Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Hailey Loehde-Woolard, the Gold Medal winner of the International Environment Sustainability Project Olympiad, shows off her trophy and certificate on Monday. (photo credit: Emma Brokaw, Santa Cruz Sentinel)

For three years, Hailey, then a Pacific Collegiate School sophomore, had been trying to create an efficient way to convert paper into cellulosic ethanol, an environmentally friendly fuel.

She was heating enzymes in an oven, borrowed from a bakery, when she got impatient and put the jars in the microwave instead.
When she looked at those enzymes’ performance, she said she was surprised.

“I’m like, ‘Whoa, wait — these ones are working so much better,'” said Hailey, now a 17-year-old senior. “So I did it again, so I’ll be darned, if it didn’t give me high results again.”

Hailey said she’s able to achieve a 97 percent conversion rate, a greater yield than any she’s seen in academic papers.

Continue reading full article here: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/santacruz/ci_25990325/santa-cruz-student-wins-international-science-fair

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Sara Isenberg publishes Santa Cruz Tech Beat for the benefit of the extended business and technology community. When she is not volunteering her time for the tech scene, Sara makes her living by managing software projects, web strategy planning, and providing development team services (including account management, vendor management, strategic partner management, beta project management, referrals to qualified technical team members, and more). Please visit her website: Sara Isenberg Web Consulting & Project Management, or contact Sara by email if you have any project management, account management, or Development Team leadership or service needs.

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