Teen's Invention to Reduce Car Pollution Wins EPA Award

By Julie Tam
|  Tuesday, May 24, 2011  |  Updated 11:08 PM CDT
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A North Texas student has won an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for his invention, which cleans up car exhaust that would normally pollute the air.

Julie Tam, NBCDFW.com

A North Texas student has won an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for his invention, which cleans up car exhaust that would normally pollute the air.

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Who knew a teenager just learning how to drive could come up with a device to reduce pollution coming from his car?

A Plano high school student has won an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for his environmentally friendly invention. It cleans up car exhaust that would normally pollute the air.

"I was driving and I was at a stop sign and I saw the car in front of me, where you could see the carbon dioxide being released," said Param Jaggi, a 17-year-old senior at Plano East High School.

That was three years ago. Since then, Jaggi has been working on a solution. He designed a device called the "Algae Mobile," which is inserted into the exhaust pipe on the back side of a car.

Through photosynthesis, algae inside the gas-permeable, aluminum alloy tube converts carbon dioxide into oxygen and releases it into the air for humans to breathe.

Jaggi has shown his project at several science fairs, along with slides explaining how it works.

"It puts us a step forward in society, where we could decrease our effect on the carbon imprint and still do it at a very consumer friendly cost and benefit," said Jaggi, who says the contraption can be priced under $30.

The invention has won him $8,000 over the years and most recently, an EPA award for sustainability. The EPA chose his concept out of more than 1,500 at the Intel International Science Fair.

Jaggi's biology teacher and sponsor said she was "extremely proud. He's been working on this project for three years. To finally see him win at Intel ISF, it's a great honor."

The young inventor has applied for a patent and says you'll be seeing a lot more from him in the coming years. He won an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. next year to present the "Algae Mobile" at the nation's largest science and engineering expo.

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