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Lemelson MIT – InvenTeam

InvenTeam Press Release


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Dr. Jody Gibson                          
Energy Institute InvenTeam                                                        

Energy Institute High School Students Receive Invention Grant to Create The Slush Buster

 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Initiative Inspires a New Generation of Inventors


Houston, Texas, October 24, 2017 — Energy Institute was recently awarded a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant of $10,000 to create The Slush Buster is designed to prevent biodiesel from gelling at low temperatures. Energy Institute High School is one of 15 high schools nationwide selected as an InvenTeam this year.

InvenTeams are teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors that receive grants up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. This initiative of the Lemelson-MIT Program aims to inspire a new generation of inventors.

“The InvenTeams program represents the future,” said Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer from the Lemelson-MIT Program.  “We place an emphasis on STEM-focused projects to develop interest in these fields among youth.  With InvenTeams, our primary goal is to foster high school students’ passion for invention, in turn inspiring them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering or math.”

Dr. Jody Gibson and Lauren Baird, science and engineering teachers at Energy Institute High School, initiated the InvenTeam application process last spring and attended training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in June to help prepare the final proposal.  A prestigious panel of judges composed of educators, researchers, staff, and alumni from MIT, as well as representatives from the industry and former Lemelson-MIT Award winners, assembled this fall and selected Energy Institute High School as one of this year’s InvenTeam grantees.


The team chose to contribute to the community by increasing the use of biodiesel, specifically HISD buses utilizing 100% biodiesel to reduce emissions. Currently, HISD buses use only 5% of biodiesel in their fuel. The goal of Energy Institute’s InvenTeam is to prevent the gelling of biodiesel fuel in colder temperatures to increase its widespread use.

In collaboration with the HISD Transportation Department, The Energy Institute High School InvenTeam will work with Chris Powers, founder and owner of Houston Biodiesel, a local company that sells biodiesel to a variety of consumers, who will guide the students through the development of their invention.

“Energy’s InvenTeam is addressing societal needs and creating solutions to problems in their community through invention and collaboration. I have high expectations for the team this year and am excited to see what they accomplish!” - Lauren Baird, Energy InvenTeam Sponsor

“Congratulations to the team on working through a very challenging concept. It won’t get easier from here, but it will certainly be more fun!” – Dr. Jody Gibson, Energy InvenTeam Sponsor

Over the next nine months, the Energy Institute InvenTeam will develop its Slush Buster.  In June, the students will showcase a prototype of their invention at EurekaFest at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. EurekaFest, presented by the Lemelson-MIT Program, is a multi-day celebration designed to empower a legacy of inventors through activities that inspire youth, honor role models and encourage creativity and problem -solving.



Celebrating invention, inspiring youth

The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.

Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering at MIT, an institution with a strong ongoing commitment to creating meaningful opportunities for K-12 STEM education.


The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives, by inspiring and enabling the next generation of inventors and invention based enterprises to promote economic growth in the US and social and economic progress for the poor in developing countries. Established by prolific US inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy in 1992, to date the Foundation has provided or committed more than $175 million in grants and PRIs in support of its mission. For more information, visit