Singaporan students win 2012 Stockholm Junior Water Prize
STOCKHOLM, Aug. 29 (SCBR) — Singaporan students Luigi Marshall Cham, Jun Yong Nicholas Lim and Tian Ting Carrie-Anne Ng Wednesday received 2012 Stockholm Junior Water Prize from the hands of Swedish Crown Princess Victoria at a ceremony in Stockholm.
“This year’s winning project shows the possibility of using a lower cost method to decrease an important water environment problem, which is relevant all over the world. The study does not only present an efficient way to remove a toxicant, but also a novel way to recover and reuse materials which would otherwise be discarded as waste,” said the International Jury in its citation.
The three 18 year olds from Singapore won the Stockholm Water Prize for their research on how clay can be used to remove and recover pollutants from waste water. The compounds studied are so called non-ionic surfactants, soap-like additives which are used in industry as well as in household detergents and cosmetic products. They are common pollutants to wastewater that are hard to remove and current techniques used to treat them produce hazardous sludge
which is difficult to dispose of.
The three students have developed a method where bentonite clay is used to remove, and recover, the pollutants from the water without the generation of any waste products. The clay is able to absorb up to 100 per cent of the non-ionic surfactants and can then be flushed clean with alcohol, allowing the compounds
to be reused.
“Minimising the generation of hazardous waste from wastewater treatment will be even more important in the future since the processing, transportation and disposal of them require increasing amounts of space and energy as the world’s population and economy continue to grow. The jury was deeply impressed by the winning team’s comprehension of the complex challenges which was demonstrated both in the laboratory and in their analysis of their innovations prospects to be scaled up
for industrial use.
A Diploma of Excellence was given to Alonso Alvarez and Daniel Barrientos from Chile for their project which outlined how salmon waste from the fishing industry can be used for biofuel production.
The Jury noted how the project applied systems thinking to address a growing water-related environmental problem in a community. They also pointed out that the team had worked extensively over a two year period show how fuel and other useful products can be generated from the wastes under the conditions specific to their locality, thereby presenting a practical approach that can increase the value chain associated with a growing local industry.
The competition is open to young people between 15-20 years of age, who have conducted water-related projects focusing on local, regional, national or global topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. As a result of the competitions, thousands of young people around the world develop personal interests, undertake academic study, and often pursue careers in the water or environmental fields.
Participants from 27 countries including China attended the competition.