Proving the practical application of filtering Pb2+ using freshwater algae

Amanda Minke

Immaculate Heart High School, Oro Valley, Arizona

Much of the world’s drinking water is not safe. Flint, a small town in Michigan, has tap water so badly contaminated with lead it is considered toxic waste. This project, spanning the past four years, has been to design and build a filter prototype using algae to remove lead from water. The work has resulted in a basic understanding of how one gram of algae removes 71ppb lead from one liter of water. This next phase is for the author to build a commercial scale demonstration filter that allows the system to be used in actual situations around the world. The goal is to filter enough water to provide a rural village residence with a steady source of clean water. The process does not require electricity or chemicals. This last phase focuses on system efficiency, process flow rate, time required for complete lead removal, and proving that the resulting water is potable. The project will determine optimal design features, manufacturing costs, and durability as well as demonstrate operational sustainability. This dream started in the author’s carport and has evolved to use wet algae filtration system to better serve a basic human necessity of clean water.

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