Perry Alagappan, Clear Lake High School’s Salutatorian for the Class of 2015 received the 2015 Stockholm Junior Water Prize on August 25, 2015 for inventing a filter through which toxic heavy metals from electronic waste can be removed from water. H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden presented the prize to Alagappan at an award ceremony during the World Water Week in Stockholm for his project: “Novel Renewable Filter for Heavy Metal Removal: A Practical Application of Functionalized Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes.” It is the most prestigious international student competition for water-related research.
According to the Stockholm International Water Institute, rapid advances in technology have resulted in a significant rise of electronic waste in our waters, which contains highly toxic heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, and lead.
“I became interested in water purification when I visited my grandparents in India, and saw with my own eyes how electronic waste severely contaminated the environment,” said Perry Alagappan.
That was three years ago. Now at 18, after intensive research and experimentation, Perry won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for his invention. Combining his interest for water with that of nanotechnology, Perry created a first-of-its-kind filter that removes over 99 per cent of heavy metal contaminants from drinking and industrial wastewater.
”I am surprised, but so honored, to win this award. I want to launch my study as open source technology that others can use and build upon in their research. This way, I think we can solve really big issues,” said Perry after having received the award. He is now a student at Stanford University.
The Jury was impressed by Perry’s passion and long term commitment to the research and its practical application.
“This project addresses a critical water issue with broad implications for the whole world. Through its sound science and sustainable technology, the solution is scalable from household to industrial scale for a broad range of applications,” said the Jury in its citation. “The technology used in the project could revolutionize the way water can be treated and heavy metals recovered,” the Jury concluded.
Click here to read more information about the Stockholm Junior Water Prize.