Indian American student in Oregon finds hydrogel desalination technique to provide clean water from salt water.
Portland, Feb6:The American-Indian boy Chaitanya Karamchedu from Portland, Oregon found a cheap, easily accessible way to provide clean water from salt water.
The boy studying in Jesuit High School/Portland State University used hydrogel based desalination technique using saponified starch grafted polyacrylamide’s hydrophilic properties to harvest fresh water. The process does not require any thermal and electrical energy and filtered water has comparable conductivity of 306.32 µS/cm which is comparable to the conductivity of distilled water at 200 µS/cm.
What’s striking is that the process has negligible pre-treatment and post-treatment cost which makes it usable on a small scale, especially for those people who are prone to lack of fresh water.
While testing the mass and conductivity of the treated water, it was found that the water had a total dissolved solids concentration of 513 mg/L which is well within WHO standard at
Detailed analysis of the water constituents showed that water contained 25.8 mg/L of sodium and 36 mg/L of chloride. For a reference, the sea water contains 10,500 mg/L sodium and 19,000 mg/L chloride concentration. The relevant EPA secondary concentration levels (aesthetic standards) for sodium is 20 mg/L and for chloride is 250 mg/L. The process yielded over 70% of fresh water and also produced a commercially useful fertilizer, CaSO4, as a byproduct.
“1 in 8 people do not have access to clean water, it’s a crying issue that needs to be addressed. The best access for water is the sea, so 70 per cent of the planet is covered in water and almost all of that is the ocean, but the problem is that’s salt water. Scientists looked at desalination, but it’s all still inaccessible to places and it would cost too much to implement on a large scale” stated Karamchedu.
He, on the other hand saw the problem from a different angle and focused on the 90 per cent water that was not bonded instead of 10 per cent which was bonded. He then used polymer to filter out pure water and obtained that 90 per cent water leaving the 10 percent that was bonded with salt.
This method is so cheap that it can be applied anywhere and the water crises can be overcome with its help. Millions of people can be benefitted when the operation will take place on a large scale Scientists all over the world are impressed by his work and he has received rewards for this. Intel’s International Science Fair provided him with $10,000 and Regeneron Science Talent Search with $2,000, RSTS is known to be the most prestigious competition and he came 1st out of 300 talented students with brilliant ideas. He stood second with the same project at MIT’s TechCon Conference.
His work doesn’t end with cleaning water, he has interests in other fields too such as in curing cancer. He’s currently working with his teachers on the same subject.