Michael Chen: A Novel Method to Alleviate the Water Crisis in Uganda
The Ricoh Sustainable Development Award (RSDA) is a scholarship program presented at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (Regeneron ISEF) that supports high school students dedicated to creating practical and innovative methods to address environmental threats facing our communities.
We recently caught up with our 2019 RSDA winner Michael Chen from Orange Park, Florida to discuss how the scholarship has supported his sustainability efforts in college, his ongoing research, and his plans to continue improving the environment throughout his career.
Michael’s winning invention, “A Novel Method to Alleviate the Water Crisis in Uganda” is an affordable and simple-to-build solar still that independently sources potable water and can be used in a variety of environments. Because 61% of the population does not have access to clean water, this device enables Ugandans to easily have drinkable water and avoid spending days walking in dangerous conditions to find clean sources.
Users fill the still’s chamber with elephant grass which is a fast-growing plant commonly found in Uganda. Using sunlight to heat the chamber with the elephant grass to up to 200℉, clean and drinkable water distills and condensates in a PVC pipe. The processed plant matter can then be used to feed cattle or to create fuel.
A groundbreaking yet simple invention, Michael’s work is truly a testament to the rich possibilities and future of sustainability the world can achieve by supporting new ideas from young, bright minds.
Here's what Michael had to say...
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