Hovedpriserne blev vundet af studerende fra amerikanske uddannelsesinstitutioner, mens Kaare Thode Jørgensen og Jakob Refer Thygesen fra Odense Tekniske Gymnasium vandt en af de mest eftertragtede specialpriser for deres projekt med titlen Vandrensning med aktivt nøddeskalskul. Prisen blev givet for stor kreativitet og spændende teknologisk innovation, der har store kommercielle muligheder.
Der deltog mere end 1500 unge forskere fra hele verden i konkurrencen.
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Clean water is a basic human right - but today, some 1.1 billion people suffer from lack of clean water and this causes 3.4 million deaths annually.
Water can be effectively purified by passing it through an activated-carbon filter. We chose to study two different types of activated-carbon, one made of wood (which for example Ghana imports 785 tons of annually), and one made of coconut shells (of which there is a local surplus in West Africa), in order to determine whether or not a local production of the activated-carbon would be viable.
To test the efficiency of the two types of activated-carbon we used KMnO4 (potassium permanganate). We used this substance to simplify the measuring of adsorbed KMnO4. We constructed small accurate glass filters all containing 1.50g of activated-carbon. We then used different concentrations of KMnO4 (0,01M, 0,1M and 1M) and ran these through the filters.
The results were astonishing: activated-carbon made from coconut-shells where able to purify 358.8mL of 1M KMnO4 whereas the regular type was able to purify 91.8mL of 1M KMnO4. The same trend was seen with the other experiments. It can be concluded that the coconut-shell derived activated-carbon is three to four times more efficient than the regular type.
Our studies indicate that if coconut shell activated-carbon were produced (based on simple production methods) and used in e.g. Ghana, it would be possible to decrease the cost of water-purification, decrease the local unemployment and increase the availability of pure water.
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