Cynthia Lam’s H2prO device. Photo Credit: InterestingEngineering.com
This girl is definitely going places. Inventions to help improve the quality of life in a renewable and sustainable approach has been the main efforts of many scientists and engineers today. A participant in Google’s Science Fair, Cynthia Lam, developed a system known as H2prO that purifies water while simultaneously generating energy. In the images above; the upper portion is used for purification of water, while the bottom part is used for hydrogen generation which is connected to a fuel cell and the base unit for filtration of water.
Cynthia’s device uses titanium to separate the pollutants from the water. With the addition of oxidizing substances (methanol, glycerol, and EDTA) this mixture increases the production of hydrogen, which is used as fuel and to make the decomposition more efficient. Tests show that the H2prO has a 90% efficiency in the removal of organic pollutants, and the entire process can happen in only two hours. Unfortunately, the system is still unstable (even with such a satisfactory production of photocatalyic hydrogen) so data regarding energy production is slim to none. However, Cynthia is not giving up yet and plans to finalize her design to help many people in developing countries!
Hubble Telescope. Photo Credit: NASA.org
I approached this Open Mind a little differently from my latest round of posts. Instead of developing ideas and solutions over the course of a month, I gave myself a “pop” design challenge. The topic: If you were the lead designer for a new NASA Telescope, what considerations would be most important to you? My goal: Instead of developing the best or most important considerations for this challenge, I would develop the first three considerations that popped into my head.
My first thought dealt with finances. As the project manager, I would need to know how much funding the team has and what it will be used for. To me, the days of dumping money into a project especially for exploration are far and few between. It’s unfortunate but there are companies out there that are reviving the passion for space and underwater exploration; our team included. In order to justify spending money on a new exploration project, the team will absolutely have to design intelligently. By using sustainable materials and avoiding “reinventing the wheel”, the design team can focus on improving technology already available thus potentially saving money.
The second thought to pop up was about the project’s overall life cycle. As a manager, I would need to establish an efficient way to not only start and end the project, but see if the telescope has life after decommission. Can anything off the telescope be used or recycled after it’s no longer needed? There’s more to “design” now than ever since there’s a push to go green in all industries. Anything from control systems to frame material can be inspected and potentially approved for reuse. These parts don’t have to be used for serious missions but can be utilized in testing scenarios or for higher education.
The final thought before I called time revolved around power generation. Fuel supply and consumption are always design concerns for any project but none more than in space/underwater applications. There are particles of various sizes translating across space. If a designer can harness the power of small impacts on the telescope by the particles or generate rotational motion from the moving particles, power can be generated. This power can be used to charge batteries in times of need.
Well there you have it, an expedited Open Mind that took place in less than one minute. Take a look at other Team UV Open Minds from previous months and don’t forget to support our GoFundMe site!
Until next time!