2 Hendersonville 8-year-olds wanted to end global warming. Their science project won big.

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(Photo: Jeff Goold / University School of Nashville)

Eight-year-old Eesha Nachnani has a 45 minute-drive from her Hendersonville home to University School of Nashville each day.

The thought of adding carbon dioxide to the air upset her.

“Global warming is the biggest challenge facing mankind today,” the second-grader said.

With a nudge from her dad, Dr. Jagdish Nachnani, she and her friend and neighbor Mithra Menon, also 8, decided to tackle the issue in Toshiba’s ExploraVision contest.

“I told them to enter it — what’s the harm?” Eesha’s dad said. “I didn’t expect them to win. It was a surprise to all of us.”

The two second graders won one of six regional awards for their C2 Project, which aims to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen using artificial chlorophyll — the primary player during photosynthesis.

Solving real-world problems

ExploraVision is a K-12 contest for small teams of students to brainstorm ideas to solve real-world issues. National winners will receive money in saving bonds.

On April 11, Mithra, who attends Nannie Berry Elementary School, joined Eesha at USN for a “really long” recognition ceremony from Toshiba, she said.

University School of Nashville teacher Victoria Roca (left) and Toshiba southern region sales director Cary Butler (right) congratulated Hendersonville natives Mithra Menon and Eesha Nachnani for winning the regional ExploraVision award for their C2 project addressing global warming.

(Photo: Jeff Goold / University School of Nashville)

Their project is currently vying for nationals — if they win, they will present the project in Washington, D.C., a trip paid for by ExploraVision.

“I didn’t even know about the contest,” said Eesha’s teacher Victoria Roca, who helped them enter ExploraVision. “Now, maybe next year we can encourage other people to do this.”

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While Roca and Nachnani helped the girls sign up for the contest, Eesha and Mithra did all the work — from the research to creating a prototype to building a website.

The hardest part: finding material to make abstract chlorophyll molecules (They were not required to use actual chlorophyll.)

The best part: spray painting the box silver

How it works

If used in the real world, the C2 Project would be a device individuals could attach to their vehicles’ exhaust pipes and factories could place in their chimneys.

Mithra Menon and Eesha Nachnani show their C2 Project prototype, which would convert carbon dioxide into oxygen using artificial chlorophyll.

(Photo: Submitted)

The carbon dioxide emitted would go in one side of the device, and the artificial chlorophyll would convert the carbon dioxide to oxygen, which would be released at the other end.

“We’re concerned that if too much carbon dioxide gets in the world then the whole world will get heated,” Eesha said.

Both animal lovers, the girls are also worried about greenhouse gases’ effects on animals’ habitats.

“A lot of animals are getting extinct,” Eesha said.

The girls should discover in early May if the C2 Project has taken them a step further in the contest.

They would like to see their project be used in real life, and help save the planet.

Reach Sumner County reporter Jen Todd at 615-575-7143, jtodd1@tennessean.com or on Twitter @jentoddwrites.

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