A team of OSU Engineering students will compete this weekend at a science festival in Washington D.C. that is sponsored by the EPA.
Graduate student Eric Lam will spearhead OSU's entry. Lam recently came up with a way to build a cement container filter system. It removes contamination from water by filtering it through two feet of sand and another layer of gravel.
While the technology isn't new, Lam found a way to build one of these systems with materials that cost about $8. Earlier models cost as much as $2,000 to build.
Lam and his classmates have been showing residents of a small town in the country of Honduras how to build these filter systems. The water quality down there is so bad. Parents who can't afford bottled water and don't name their children until they are three or four years old, because many of them die from drinking the country's tap water.
The filter system can produce as much as 15 gallons of clean water per day.
"So they save money by visiting their doctor less. They save money by not having to buy bottled water," said Lam. "All they have to do is buy one of these filters, and it pays back in six or seven days."
Lams' team will be competing with 40 other teams for about $100,000 in research money.
I'd say Lam's group has a fair chance.