At 18 he invented the way to purify water with graphene


In some areas of the world the protection of drinking water is a challenge that is not easy to solve, especially due to the prohibitive costs of the technologies necessary for the various processes of filtration, chlorination, distillation and boiling. A new idea now comes from Texas, where an 18-year-old invented a graphene filter to purify water simply and extremely cheaply.

Ultra-efficient. Perry Alagappan, newly graduated student from Houston, has designed a filter that is able to retain 99% of the heavy metals in the water. The device is made of graphene nanotubes, the material at the center of various researches and considered by many to be the key to a new industrial revolution.

Graphene: the new era of materials

The prototype was made possible thanks to the support of Rice University, which opened the doors of its laboratories to the boy. Alagappan's work was then rewarded with the Water Junior Prize during the World Water Week, which recently ended in Stockholm.

Image Perry Alagappan receives the Water Junior Prize during the last edition of the World Water Week in Stockholm. | Jonas Borg

Easy and accessible. Once the water has been purified, the filtering device can be cleaned and reused: washing with a vinegar concentrate in fact allows the removal of polluting metals, which can be recycled through subsequent steps. The cost of the technology is estimated at around $ 20, a fifth of the devices based on reverse osmosis.

Open source. The young scientist has decided not to patent the invention, to share it with anyone who wants to make good use of it. The applications range from the treatment of industrial waste water to the filtering of water contaminated by electronic waste in the most disadvantaged areas of the planet.

For Perry Alagappan, a future is expected at Stanford University. The details of his research will soon be published in the journal Nature Materials.