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This 15-Year-Old’s Invention Converts Ocean Currents Into Energy—for Cheap

The teen’s innovation just won a big science competition.

via Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Meet Hannah Herbst, a 15-year-old from Boca Raton, Florida, who just might be the nation’s top young scientist. Earlier this month, Herbst won a $25,000 prize with a very cheap invention: a prototype probe that converts the movement of the ocean’s currents into energy and costs just $12 to make. Out of nine other middle-school finalists, Herbst was awarded first place in the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.


Herbst’s energy probe consists of a 3D-printed propeller, a pulley, and a hydroelectric generator, which converts the movement of the ocean into usable energy. Though the small probe does not create enough energy to power, say, an electric grid, Herbst says a system of her ocean-powered propellers could run a desalinization machine, which converts ocean water into drinking water.

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Herbst’s project began with a pen pal. While writing to a 9-year-old living in Ethiopia, the young scientist learned that her new friend’s family did not have a reliable source of power or electricity. So Herbst turned to an energy source that surrounds her native Boca Raton: the ocean.

“I really want to end the energy poverty crisis and really help the other methods of renewable energy collection to generate more power and to make our world a better place for everyone,” Herbst says.

via Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge]

Though marine current power is still in its infancy, it has plenty of potential. Dense water generates impressive amounts of energy as its moves through the ocean. The U.S. Department of the Interior estimates that if just 1/1,000th of the energy available in the Gulf Stream were harnessed and converted, it could supply 35 percent of Florida’s electricity needs.

(Via Fast Company)

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via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

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Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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