In the Student Innovation Challenge, Tech Launch Arizona awarded funding to five student teams that are working to develop impactful products to benefit society. One team, which includes SIE PhD student Abolhassan Mohammadi Fathabd, is working to develop household systems for rural and Indigenous communities that simultaneously produce renewable energy and purify water.
The team's proposal includes creating a unit that consists of a solar panel, a battery, a pump and a water nanofiltration membrane. Based on their calculations, they estimate that they can develop a system that produces and stores between 1 and 5 kilowatts and purifies between 25 and 150 gallons of water daily.
Fathabd is working with environmental engineering graduate student Christopher Yazzie, and Georgina Torrandell Haro, who is working towards her graduate degree in medical pharmacology and studying at the Eller College of Management.
“The short-term hope is to improve the quality of life of thousands of households in Navajo Nation which do not have access to either clean water or electricity,” said Fathabd. “My long-term vision for our project is to produce units that can be installed in any remote location around the globe, and perhaps someday on a moon base.”
The five winning teams of the Student Innovation Challenge were awarded approximately $40,000 total, which was distributed among the teams to develop their ideas into prototypes.