It’s intriguing to see young people creating inventions that could help improve life quality in a renewable and sustainable way. A 17-year-old participant in the Google Science Fair named Cynthia Lam from Australia, developed a system called H2prO, that aims to purify water while simultaneously generating energy. She is also one of the 15 finalists of the competition.
The project information that was published for the Science Fair shares that it works on only titanium dioxide and light. When the substance comes into contact with light, it absorbs ultraviolet energy and produces radicals which help in the oxidation process of organic compounds which decompose to produce CO2 and sterilised water.
“There are some technologies for purifying water that are similar, but you’d need an extra source of electricity,” Lam said. “For this one, you only need sunlight and titania. It can generate a very efficient source of clean electricity as well.”
While the upper section of the device is used for water purification, the bottom part is used for hydrogen generation which is connected to a fuel cell and the base unit is used for the filtration of water.
Tests show that Lam’s H2prO has a 90% efficiency in the removal of organic pollutants, and the entire process can happen in only two hours. In regards to it’s energy production, the system is still unstable even with such as satisfactory production of photocatalytic hydrogen.
“I think people around the world don’t really understand how serious water pollution and the energy crisis is,” says Lam. “I’d really like to finalize the design, because it could potentially help people in developing countries. It would be great to have clean water and electricity supplied sustainably, without needing any outside help. It would be awesome.”