Israeli teens invent solar-power water purifier

By Nathan Jeffay, August 4, 2011

Clean drinking water could soon be far more accessible in the developing world, thanks to two innovative high-school pupils from Netanya.

Maya Braun and Avishai Ketko, study partners at the city's Moshe Sharett School, have invented a solar-powered, portable water purifier. The 17-year-olds' invention will compete for the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize later this month.

Currently, one of the most popular DIY water purification techniques is SODIS, which, according to the World Health Organisation, takes longer to work than many people in the heat can bear to wait - at least five hours.

Maya and Avishai's device purifies water instantly by reflecting ultra-violet rays with a configuration of mirrors. The highly concentrated rays purify the drops instantly and can produce 1.2 litres of clean water an hour.

The purifier was invented as coursework for their science bagrut – equivalent of A-Level – which they complete next year.

Asked if she would like to establish a start-up to manufacture their purifier, Maya said: "Yes, but we're still 12th graders, so we'll see."

Last updated: 1:26pm, August 4 2011