Island School student Aaron Rozon took second place in the Junior Research division of the Hawaii State Science & Engineering Fair last week, to snag himself another spot in the Discovery Channel’s Young Scientist Challenge.
At the awards ceremony, Rozon was awarded $750 in prize money, $600 for himself and $150 for his science teacher Jeff Brock.
Last year, Rozon’s experiment on leptospirosis won him the right to be one of five students from Hawai‘i, and the only student from Kaua‘i, to go to Washington, D.C. to compete for the title of young scientist of the year.
This year, Rozon took on making diesel fuel from kukui nut oil with his project, “Ancient Diesel: Making Methyl Ester from Kukui Nut Oil.” “There is this plant called eutropa that’s been used to make biodiesel to fuel train stations,” said Rozon. “I wanted to see if you could make biodiesel out of the cousin of the eutropa, the kukui nut.” He made it work by creating 98 percent to 100 percent pure biodiesel.
He said his project is 100-percent original, with no one else attempting this sort of transesterfication, the process of making diesel from an organic oil.
He also said there is no existing information on kukui nut transesterfication.
His awards, for himself, include $50 from the Hawaii Agricultural Research Center, $25 from the Sigma Xi Science Research Group, $100 from Pioneer Hybrid, $100 from the Hawaii Environmental Program, $100 from the Gamma Sigma Delta Honors Group, and two awards from Tesoro totaling $225.
Rozon’s was one of 358 science entries from public and private schools at the fair.
• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or firstname.lastname@example.org.