SRCI grant provides funds for portable water filtration system
This is the third part in The Vanguard’s profiles of SVSU Students who were awarded SRCI grants. This week’s featured winners are developing a portable water purification system
February 28, 2011 —
Water is a necessity for life. In disaster areas, a lack of potable water is a life-threatening condition.
A recent grant of $2,300 to two students from the Student Research and Creativity Institute (SRCI) to create a solar-powered water filtration unit could help solve both recreation and global problems.
Vishal Parimoo, an electrical engineering senior, and Justin Dolane, an electrical and computer engineering junior, started the project to make water filtration easy and portable. They began by creating a water-filtration briefcase. With flooding and other environmental problems limiting access to clean water supplies across America, the end result will produce a portable self-sustaining water supply unit.
Parimoo and Dolane are in the process of creating a larger water filtration device with a midgrade filtration system able to detect the cleanliness of the produced water. Different from any other system, their design will include a status LED screen that will inform users when filters need to be changed. There will be no human error in the unit and will be self-sustained through solar energy. The system will use energy collected from solar panels to power the unit and rely on battery power during the night.
“It will be extremely user-friendly, and it will be the first like it,” Dolane said.
Parimoo and Dolane came up with the idea thinking that it would help people, especially those stranded because of natural disasters or because of poor global sanitation systems.
“I am from India, so I have seen first hand people living without basic water sanitation,” Parimoo said.
They hope that the finished water filtration devices will eventually provide water to the more than 2 billion people globally without basic water sanitation. They hoped that the end result could also be used during natural disasters.
“We plan to put reflector tape on its sides,” Dolane said. “That way, in a disaster relief situation, it could be found even if dropped off at night.”
In addition to disaster relief, the unit could also be used in more local settings as a water filtration system for campers or for home use.
“I could see this not just used globally but locally, perhaps even in Saginaw,” Parimoo said.
The unit could be used as a filtration system for a home pond or to filter clean water for camping trips. The unit would introduce a cost-effective way to produce safe drinking water.
“It should be done by the end of the month,” Dolane said. “The hardest part has been getting the parts more than anything.”
Although a smaller briefcase-sized filtration unit is complete, Dolane and Parimoo are waiting for solar panels to construct the larger system with multiple filters and a larger, more effective battery. This unit will be more effective than the briefcase water filtration unit. The midsize unit under construction will be able to produce between one and 1.8 gallons of clean water per minute.
“The idea is very simple, and that is what will make it effective,” Parimoo said.