A Charles Hays high school student is heading to Taiwan to present the renewable energy project she’s been working on for the past two years.
Aaliyah Mahboubi, a Grade 9 at Charles Hays Secondary School in Prince Rupert, is one of two Canadian students who will present projects alongside peers from more than 80 countries at the 2018 International Science Competition in January.
“This has been a lifelong project for me. It definitely took an undivided attention,” said Mahboubi, who started her project when she was 12 years old.
Her project, “Microbial Film Power Generation,” is based on harvesting electricity from the natural decomposition of microbes. Her inspiration came from a similar study a scientist was conducting on the ocean floor, and Mahboubi tested it on a material easily found at home in Northern B.C.: muskeg.
“I took the idea and applied it to the northern area,” Mahboubi said. “In the end, actually, my results turned out to be a higher voltage and a higher current than the results on the ocean floor. That was really neat to see.”
For Mahboubi, renewable energy “is very important, especially today because of fossil fuel and the negative impacts it has on our environment. Most scientists will tell you that our environment is not the cleanest. Our ozone layer is deteriorating, and I think before embarking on any political matters, it’s important we make sure our planet is safe and clean before it’s too late. When the destruction worsens, it can be really hard for us to move forward,” she said.
The 14-year-old previously presented her project in the national Canadian science fair twice, winning gold in both 2016 and 2017, as well as the Earth Science Award and the Renewal Energy Award. She is currently fundraising for the trip on her GoFundMe page “Attend Int’l Science Fair in Taiwan”.
“There are definitely a lot of nerves, but at the same time I’m excited to travel to Asia and just experience the competition as a whole. And meet new people, that’s definitely one of the things I love about the fair,” Mahboubi said.