Two Nigerian students, Elizabeth Korolo Boluwatife and Abdulsalam Ajara, are blazing a trail with a device they invented aimed at purifying and reusing polluted water, providing safe drinking water for those in riverine and rural regions. They were recently awarded the Stockholm Junior Water Prize Nigeria for creating the Bithermal Water Distillation Device.
The Bithermal Water Distillation Device, created by Boluwatife and Ajara, was recognized as the top project by the jury panel. It was lauded for its ability to provide clean drinking water to everyone, its cost-effectiveness, economic viability, practicality, and scalability.
This innovative device uses solar energy, abundant in tropical regions, to purify water. Boluwatife and Ajara were inspired to develop this solution by the lack of safe drinking water in their community in Lagos state’s Makoko area.
Ajara said she had a moment of inspiration while boiling water in the kitchen. She realized that the process of water evaporating from the pot and condensing on the cover could be used to purify water because the evaporated water is in its purest form, known as distilled water. This insight sparked the idea behind their innovative water purification device.
Boluwatife, who grew up in the Makoko area with a severe shortage of clean drinking water, explained that despite being surrounded by water, the community lacks access to clean water due to poor drainage and sewage systems, exacerbating the problem.
The device employs locally available materials such as sand, charcoal, and fiber. The BBC video below shows how it works: