Google Science Fairs are known around the world for providing a platform for innovation that change lives and affect things that matter. In 2015, 17-year-old Cynthia Sin Nga Lam was one of the top 15 finalists for her H2Pro prototype. It was a portable device that could purify water and at the same time generate electricity.
In 2019, her idea was taken up and furthered by a group of scientists from King Abdullah University, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. They took up her project and enhanced it. The development of this device is published in Nature Communications.
Science News reported the mechanisms of this device. It was made functional by adding a water distillation system to the solar panel models. While the solar panel is generating electricity, heat from the panel is used to evaporate the water in the distillation system. The evaporated water, free from all contamination is allowed to condense and gather in a separate container.
According to a survey by The Water Project, one out of nine individuals of this world does not have access to clean drinking water. That is about 800 million people globally. Water hygiene issues are the reason for the high mortality rate among children- one out of five children are susceptible to it. On top of it, 80 percent of the health issues in the world are water-related.
These statistics inspired Lam to work on a device that could generate electricity and at the same time purify water too. The best part about this device is that it depends on solar energy- which is an inexhaustible source of energy.
Credit: Wenbin Wang
Lam, who currently works at the World Health Organisation as a contract consultant, said that she wanted to create a device that did not work on electricity but on sunlight, in order to save energy. She also wanted her model to be cheap and easily accessible to the developing countries. She was really happy with her creation because it was so simple. It only needed titanium and a solar panel.
As Lam is no longer involved in the development of H2Pro, she is just happy that it is on the path of obtaining a form that would enable it to reach the greater population. She hopes that it would be produced in a large scale and that every family would be able to access it.
This device not only separates pollutants from the water but also can be modified to have the capacity to separate hydrogen and oxygen too. According to a report by the Fast Company, with just a switch, we would have clean access to hydrogen compounds as well.
With new inventions coming up every day, it is a relief that the new generations are working conscientiously with the environment and not against it.
Featured Image: Intelligentliving