At an age of just 14, when most of us don’t really understand the problems contaminated water could produce in our bodies, Deepika Kurup, a high school student from Nashua, New Hampshire, has tried to solve the global water crisis, with a highly affordable and completely off-the-grid solar powered water purification system.
The low cost invention, with which Kurup won $25,000 in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, has been created after three months of hard work. The system exposes titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to sunlight, creating a chemical reaction that produces hydroxyl radicals, which in turn kill harmful bacteria present in water.
The testing phase was kept as simple as possible and Kurup usually counted the bacteria before and after purification in a sample of polluted water she sourced from the Nashua wastewater treatment facility. Unlike today’s high-end water purification systems, which use UV lamps and electricity to purify water, Kurup’s invention is ideal for the developing parts of the world where residents don’t have enough money to buy expensive water filters and no electricity which can power these systems.