A Google Science Fair finalist has invented a prototype that could benefit more than 783 million people. It's called H2Pro.
H2Pro essentially purifies dirty water and then uses the polluntants from that dirty water to fuel power production, and all of this occurs within a single portable machine that only requires sunlight to work. As noted by tech website Fastcoexist, 17-year-old Cynthia Sin Nga Lam is the prototype's inventor. She's also one of 15 finalists at this year's Google Science Fair.
Lam began researching renewable electricity generation last year as well as water purification and eventually came up with a design that allows dirty water to go through a titanium mesh. When activated by the sun, the mesh sterilises water. The water then pipes into a second filter, and a photocatalytic reaction breaks the water into hydrogen and oxygen for feeding a hydrogen fuel cell.
The H2Pro's fuel cell is what ultimately produces the clean power. But that's not the best bit: Lam's prototype is both cheap and easy to construct, meaning areas of the world without access to clean water or energy could use it as a practical solution. On a larger scale, the H2Pro could affix to rooftops and make homes self-efficient. It could even help solar panels provide more electricity.
"I think people around the world don't really understand how serious water pollution and the energy crisis is," Lam said in a video for her prototype. "I'd really like to finalise 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."
Google plans to announce the Google Science Fair winners next month.