Teen scientist sees green power in guitar strings [video]

Supplying electricity to the developing world and removing atmospheric carbon dioxide are two enormous global challenges. So, thought 15-year-old Sahil Doshi, why not tackle both?

Working with recycled materials, Sahil developed an innovative battery that generates electricity by sucking CO2 from the air.

“Since a young age, I’ve always been a problem-solver,” he said. “I decided that I wanted to solve the problems that affected the most people.”

Science fair spark

Working with discarded guitar strings and some aluminum foil, Sahil started finding solutions. With his electrochemical cells wired up and producing power from carbon dioxide, his “PolluCell” battery won the top prize at the 2014 Discovery Education 3M Top Scientist Challenge.

Sahil didn’t stop there. His success led to an invitation to the 2015 White House Science Fair, where he presented his project to the president.

“It is unbelievable what so many of these young people have accomplished at such an early age,” President Obama said about this year’s finalists. “Every year, I walk out smarter than I walked in.”

Sahil and other young people interested in science and technology have a wellspring of support in the White House. The administration’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign has substantially boosted funding for U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

It’s a great investment in young people. Many, like Sahil, are finding unconventional ways to tackle the world’s biggest problems.

“As long as you realize that there are no boundaries to what you can do, you can do anything,” Sahil said.

Did you participate in a science fair in school? Check out other great innovations from recent U.S. and international competitions.