July 2018

Boca Raton, Fla. (July 11, 2018) – Persistence pays. That’s the case for an environmental engineering undergraduate student keen on finding a solution to help tackle climate change.

Vithulan Suthakaran, a 17-year old who is also enrolled at FAU High School, recently earned fourth place in the environmental engineering category and $500 at the 2018 International Science and Engineering Fair.

Competing against 1,800 students from 81 countries, Suthakaran qualified for the international competition by placing first in the environmental engineering category at this year’s State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida.

Suthakaran developed an artificial leaf to create a transportable device to convert carbon dioxide emissions into a source of oxygen. He said his device could be used to reduce air pollution or be taken to space to provide oxygen, and is cheaper and simpler to develop and use than others on the market.

“The biggest challenge was developing a concise methodology,” Suthakaran said. “I had to go through a lot of experimentation to develop my own methodology. I was discouraged at some points when I was not getting the results I wanted. However, one reason I believe my artificial leaf had such positive results was because I had a lot of determination, and kept on working when things didn’t go as planned.”

He’s refining his innovation while working with the Office of Technology Development to pursue a non-provisional patent application. The project previously landed Suthakaran second place and $1,000 in the FAU Wave research and entrepreneurship competition.

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