Today on Planet 100: Top 5 Planet-Saving Whiz Kids (Video)


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This week San Jose hosted the latest crop of future Nobel Prize hopefuls competing for the top prize at Intel's ISEF competition. Here is our list of the most inspiring wunderkinds from years past.5. Spacey Software
Earlier this year, 18-year-old Erika DeBenedictis from Albuquerque, New Mexico, took home the $100,000 first prize from Intel's Science Talent Search.

Erika designed a software navigation system that helps spacecraft more easily maneuver through the solar system. By utilizing gravity and the movement of planets, she discovered low-energy orbits that could propel ships faster using less fuel.

4. Car Turbine
In at number 4, a 12-year-old boy from Pennsylvania recently patented a design that could revolutionize the auto industry.

Billy Schopf wanted to create a car that could be powered by the sun and the wind. His brilliant idea involved the use of a thixotropic solution that could be a breakthrough for the wind industry, keeping flexible blades at a constant right angle.

3. Indian Bio-fuels
A 16-year-old Californian and former spelling bee champ develops a CO2 curbing bio-fuel for India. Adarsha Shivakumar is number 3 in our Top 5 Planet Saving Whiz Kids.

Adarsha, winner of the 2009 Brower Youth Award, co-founded Project Jatropha to promote the plant Jatropha curcas which can be turned into clean burning bio-fuel, bringing sustainable farming and carbon reductions to India.

2. Junk Windmills
In at number 2, it's a Malawian teenager who transformed his village in Africa by building electric windmills out of junk.

After a lack of funds forced him to quit school, 14-year-old William Kamkwamba studied old engineering textbooks to fulfill his dream of bringing electricity and running water to his village using spare parts from the local dump.

1. Plastic Eating Microbes
And finally, it's not your average science fair when the 16-year-old winner manages to solve a global waste crisis. Our number one spot goes to Daniel Burd.

In a controlled experiment, Daniel, winner of Canada's 2008 Science Fair, was able to get microorganisms to biodegrade plastics to 46% in just six weeks, down form the standard 1000 years, a feat many scientists thought impossible.

That's our Top 5 Planet Saving Whiz Kids. Are you inspired by the youth of today? Do you know any young over achievers? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment at the Planet Green YouTube page.

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