The typical 16 year old is not usually concerned with starch and cellulose based biomass that can be used as feedstock for bio-plastic. But then again, Elif Bilgin is far from typical.

Winner of the $50,000 prize from the Science in Action Award, part of the 2013 Google Science Fair, Elif found a way to produce bio-plastic from banana peels.

The ingredients, Elif says, are relatively benign, “it is possible to say that one could do it at home.” She first started this experiment using potatoes, but then quickly came to the rational conclusion, “well we eat potatoes, so why use that?” So she switched to banana peels and after several failed attempts she finally found success.

In an interview with Scientific American, Elif quoted Thomas Edison in reference to the 10 failed attempts prior to finding one that worked. ‘I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’

 According to Scientific American, Bilgin is also a finalist in the overall Google Science Fair for the 15-16-year-old category, and will fly, with the other 14 contenders, to the company’s Mountain View, Calif., campus for the awards event in September. Another Science in Action finalist, Ann Makosinski, 16, from Canada, is also a Google Science Fair finalist in the 15-to-16-year-old age category. For her project, Makosinski created a flashlight that runs solely on the heat of the human hand. The schools of the Google Science Fair finalists will receive digital subscriptions to Scientific American as part of their prize.

Well we wish you luck Elif and Ann. To see 16 year olds have such innovation and drive is heartening to say the least. Maybe your actions and ingenuity can serve to motivate some of today’s teens.


Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.