Regardless of how many times it happens, it is always fascinating to read about a teenager, who has done something incredible. This time the star of the show is the 17-year-old Australian student Cynthia Sin Nga Lam, who found herself in the top 15 of the Google Science Fair, with her portable device that generates electricity and purifies water at the same time.
The device is called H2Pro, and it is an incredible invention that tackles the two most pressing problems in the developing world today- limited clean drinking water and limited electricity supply. It purifies water through photocatalyc reactions that break down the organic compound and produce hydrogen, which is then converted into electricity. The device has two parts, an upper unit where photocatalitic water purification and hydrogen generation takes place (connected a fuel cell), and a bottom unit, for additional water filtration of highly polluted household wastewater.
What makes the H2Pro unique, is the fact that for a first time such device does not require additional power source or complex and expensive technologies. Thanks to photocatalysis and cheap materials used to make it, the instrument is made extremely suitable for remote areas, where water and energy are considered a treasure. It is self-sustainable, portable and very promising technology of the future.
As Cynthia explains in her promo video, the higher the concentration of organic pollutants in water, the more electricity is produced. She notes that her prototype can remove up to 90% of the organic pollutants in a space of only 2 hours. Of course, as brilliant as it is, there is still some work to be done on the device in order to stabilize the energy generation process. It theory it works, however it meets a few challenges when put into practice.
Well done, young lady! You deserve to win this one.
Image (c) Google Science Fair