A student is developing a system for purifying water, and making non-potable water safe for drinking.
At Leland High School, 16 year old Johnathan Li has developed a system that purifies water at 24 hour intervals. He started the project for oxygenating water as a freshman two years ago, along with his fellow student Justin Callahan.
“My experiment was essentially testing if active oxygen would be able to oxidize disease-causing bacteria–coliforms–found in unsafe drinking water in order to sterilize it,” Jonathan says. “The hard part, as you may be able to tell, is creating active oxygen as it is not found in nature, [unlike] the more stable O2.”
The process Jonathan used was splitting the single oxygen atom from the two hydrodgen atoms in water, using electrolysis. He then funneled the atom into a tube which contained unsafe drinking water. When he entered his project in the Synopsys Science and Technology championship he didn’t win, but his project attracted attention from the University of Toronto engineering department. They invited him to attend an intensive engineering camp for a week this summer.