Titled “H2Pro”, Cynthia Sin Naga Lam’s ingenious invention should create a more than affordable method for millions to gain access to clean water and electricity. Her submission to Google’s Science Fair competition lays out the project, which first originated from her interest in photocatalytic processes (which are processes driven primarily by light energy). Keep in mind that this brilliant invention rose from the creative
After realizing that she could actually tie water purification into energy production (well, hydrogen atom sequestration), her hard work has led to the project rising to international attention. She sums up her invention by saying,
“The entire process only needs titania and light — no additional power source is required. However, hydrogen production is generally low since photoexcited electrons tend to fall back to the hole (i.e. photoinduced electron-hole combination.) Fortunately, it can be overcome by adding reductants, while some organic pollutants serve such purpose. Hence, I propose to combine the two mechanisms together to enhance the yield and lower the cost of hydrogen generation, meanwhile efficient water purification can also be achieved.”
Yes, she is saying we can use organic pollutants in the water to help catalyse the reaction: actually increasing the efficiency of electrical power generation, while also producing clean water. Although there is always a lag between invention and production/application, H2Pro looks like an idea with a very bright future.