Teen Finding Ways to Cut Energy Costs

16-year-old works on Department of Energy initiative

By Sara Story
|  Monday, Mar 28, 2011  |  Updated 7:15 PM CDT
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16-year-old <a title=Kurtis Carsch has a plan to make energy less expensive, which could eventually impact prices at the pump." />

Sara Story, NBCDFW.com

16-year-old Kurtis Carsch has a plan to make energy less expensive, which could eventually impact prices at the pump.

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A 16-year-old is playing a key role in making energy more affordable.

Kurtis Carsch, who will present his research at the ExxonMobil Science and Engineering Fair this weekend, said his project could have a worldwide impact.

"If we can incorporate methane as a fuel source for cars, gas prices will skyrocket down," he said. "I'd rather not have a portion of my limited income on gas."

The 16-year-old attends the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Sciences, a program at the University of North Texas that allows talented students to complete their high school diploma and two years of college credit.

"I'm always looking for a new challenge," Carsch said. "It was challenging, but when I saw this program, wow. Taking class at a college campus -- that's certainly more than any AP class can offer."

He now has all of UNT's resources at his fingertips. Under the direction of a chemistry professor, Carsch is part of a Department of Energy initiative.

"I'm essentially concerting methane gas into methanol liquid," he said.

It's a process that's already being done, but the teenager is researching more cost- and energy-efficient means. Carsch is working alongside UNT graduate students.

The trip to this weekend's state science and engineering fair means he will miss his prom.

"I feel very confident in this project, so I'm choosing the project," Carsch said. "While my friends are doing that, I will be in San Antonio just awaiting results."

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