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17-year-old Mighty Girl Cynthia Lam of Melbourne, Australia wants to help people living without access to clean water and electricity -- and this ingenious young inventor has developed a device that can purify water and generate electricity using only the power of the sun! Cynthia is now bringing her potentially life-changing invention, which she calls H2Pro, to a global stage as one of the 2014 Google Science Fair’s 15 global finalists.
Cynthia's H2Pro device is made up of two parts -- an upper unit for photocatalytic water-purification and hydrogen-generation and a bottom unit where additional water filtration takes place. Dirty water enters the top of the device and it passes through a titanium mesh which, when activated by the sun, sterilizes the water. This photocatalytic reaction also splits the water into oxygen and hydrogen -- the latter of which is used by a hydrogen fuel cell to generate power. Impurities in the water such as detergents also provide more hydrogen; thus, allowing the device to generate more power.
In her testing, Cynthia found that H2prO could decompose 90% of organic pollutants in the water in the space of two hours. While the theory shows that the reaction should produce enough hydrogen to generate electricity, in practice, H2prO’s energy generation is still erratic. As she wrote in her Google Science Fair brief, "the removal of organic pollutant was examined to be excellent"; however, she was unsatisfied with its energy generation and plans to "keep searching for economical approach to 'practicalize' the electricity-generation unit."
Ultimately, Cynthia told CoExist, "I think people around the world don't really understand how serious water pollution and the energy crisis is. 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."
Kudos to Cynthia for her inventiveness and interest in helping others! We wish you the best of luck in the Google Science Fair!
To read more about Cynthia’s project, visit the Google Science Fair site athttp://bit.ly/1vRYqTh
For a new parenting book full of ideas to encourage kids to tap into their natural curiosity and excitement in discovery, check out “Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors” at http://www.amightygirl.com/tinkerlab
For an excellent book about real-life female inventors throughout history, we highly recommend "Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women," for ages 8 and up at http://www.amightygirl.com/girls-think-of-everything
For another fantastic book about an inventive young Mighty Girl, we highly recommend "Rosie Revere, Engineer," for ages 4 to 9, athttp://www.amightygirl.com/rosie-revere-engineer
And, for more ways to encourage your Mighty Girl's interest in invention and engineering, check out our Mighty Careers blog post "I Want To Be An Engineer!" filled with our recommendations for girl-empowering books, toys, and clothing, athttp://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=6640