A high school student from Houston has developed a filter that removed 99% of metal from contaminated water in tests. Perry Alagappan's design won this year's Stockholm Junior Water Prize.
Alagappan’s aim was to design a renewable filter that removes e-waste; he did this by developing purified and functionalized carbon nanotubes, which remove metal from water. The filter can be reused by simply rinsing it with vinegar concentrate.
Alagappan estimates that he could sell this product for $20, a much cheaper rate than for many water filters already on the market, which do not collect precious metals, and are not reusable.
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The technology used in this project could revolutionize the way water can be treated and heavy metals recovered.
We are currently generating 42 million tonnes of electronic waste every year. Recycling factories are recovering some of this waste, but metals and chemicals are still discharged into water sources, and can be dangerous when consumed.
This purifier is able to collect these precious metals for re-use, as well as deliver safe water for human consumption.
The UN has set the goal to have clean water available everywhere by 2030. How far could this purifier go towards meeting it?
This project is going to be kept open source, and if it is sold for the small sum of $20 each, this and its reusability means it will be accessible to a large market. This will also reduce the need for current filter systems, which are expensive and often rely on fossil fuels to power them.