Confronted with dire shortages that are shared by Jordan, the Palestinian territories, and just about every other nation in the MENA region, Israeli scientists are considered to be among the top producers of water treatment and saving technology. An Israeli delegation led a recent World Water forum in France, sharing their hydrological expertise, and every year clean tech awards are bestowed upon alumnus of various local universities.
Now a younger generation of Israeli science wizards are catching the clean tech bug. Avishai Katko and Maya Braun of Sharett High School have developed a portable water treatment system that anyone can use at home and it is powered by solar-energy!
Solar-powered water treatment
The Netanya students won the Intel-Israel 15th Annual Young Scientist’s competition with this groundbreaking design, which uses solar-power to expose polluted water to ultraviolet light.
It is a modular system that could be used by anyone in countries that have water shortages and loads of sunshine, and the Jerusalem Post reported that it is produced at low cost.
Currently a great majority of Israel’s water is produced by desalination plants. It’s a double-edge sword: people need water, but eventually the process used to separate the salt out of sea water will cause irreparable harm to water sources.
But if commercialized, the system developed by Katko and Braun could allow home owners to collect and treat their own water. Scientific safety guidelines would have to accompany the product, but decentralizing water treatment will give residents greater autonomy and no doubt slash steep water tariffs.
Scale up and join forces
Scaled up and combined with another Israeli technology that separates solids from water destined for municipal waste plants in order to make paper from the cellulose byproduct, along with a host of other water-saving techniques used in agricultural and industrial contexts, the modular water treatment system could radically transform how water is used in Israel.
And with any luck, these clean tech developments will be shared with other nations in the region that face even greater water shortages. In the meantime, Arab researchers like Reem Al Junaibi and Maitha Al Kaabi, who have been touring Antarctica as representatives of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, are also seeking solutions that are applicable to their cultural and ecological exigencies.
Katko and Braun from Netanya will represent Israel at Intel’s worldwide Young Scientist Competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania later this year. They will also both receive a $3,000 university scholarship.
Image credit: UV Light Bulb, Shutterstock
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