AP NEWS

Vermont students seek patent for maple syrup device

November 23, 2019 GMT

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) — Some Vermont high school students are seeking a patent for an invention that they think will help the maple syrup industry.

The invention that measures sap flow was created by technical education students at the Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury, according to Mynbc5.com.

The device, that is supposed to be about the size of a water bottle, measures the flow of maple tree sap in real time moving from trees through plastic tubing to a collection site. The students say it helps to determine if tubing is clogged or frozen.

“So if it is not producing as much as we think, we can go check on that one line to see if there’s something we need to repair,” said Eben Clifford, a senior from Starksboro.

Vermont is the country’s leading producer of maple syrup, which is created by boiling down sap.

Some operations have hundreds or thousands of sap lines so that information could make sap collection more efficient.

“There’s definitely commercial potential,” said the team’s faculty adviser Aaron Townshend.

Students have met with a manufacturer and researchers at the University of Vermont, who were both encouraging, he said.

The Lemelson-MIT Program awarded the students a $10,000 grant to further refine the invention.

Students hope to get a utility patent by next summer, Townshend said. They want to present their device at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

“I don’t know if there’s monetary benefit to us,” said Ileigh Aube, a senior from Middlebury. “But it’ll look really good on job applications and on college applications.”

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Information from: WPTZ-TV, http://www.thechamplainchannel.com