Designer Cynthia Lam On The Graywater Bioremediation Frontier

Designer Cynthia Lam On The Graywater Bioremediation Frontier

17-year-old Cynthia Lam of Melbourne, Australia wants to help people living without access to clean water and electricity -- and has developed a device that can purify water and generate electricity using solar power.

The inventrix is now bringing her potentially life-changing invention, which she calls H2Pro, to a global stage...

The  H2Pro device is made up of two parts -- an upper unit for photocatalytic water-purification and hydrogen-generation and a bottom unit where additional water filtration takes place.

  1. Dirty water enters the top of the device and it passes through a titanium mesh which, when activated by the sun, sterilizes the water. This photocatalytic reaction also splits the water into oxygen and hydrogen -- the latter of which is used by a hydrogen fuel cell to generate power. Impurities in the water such as detergents also provide more hydrogen; thus, allowing the device to generate more power. 


  • testing revealed that H2prO could decompose 90% of organic pollutants in the water in the space of two hours.
  • While the theory shows that the reaction should produce enough hydrogen to generate electricity, in practice, H2prO’s energy generation is still erratic. Lam wrote: "the removal of organic pollutant was examined to be excellent"; however, she was unsatisfied with its energy generation and plans to "keep searching for economical approach(es) to 'practicalize' the electricity-generation unit."

 "I think people around the world don't really understand how serious water pollution and the energy crisis are. I'd really like to finalize the design, because it could potentially help people in developing countries. It would be great to have clean water and electricity supplied sustainably, without needing any outside help. It would be awesome."  

With the H2Pro, Cynthia aims to tackle two problems at once: how to provide clean water and electricty to the many people around the world who have neither. Currently 780 million people lack access to clean water, while 1.2 billion live without electricity. The H2Pro could change that using photocatalytic technology, which simultaneously purifies water and generates electricity using only sunlight.


Design Outlaws is the outgrowth of the work of the Knossus Project.

Since 1989,, Knossus has been dedicated to seeking out and creating things that will make the world a better place in which to live. Specifically, our efforts have centered around the development of a sustainable environment, renewable energy, and environments that are not only ecologically friendly, but are artistically vibrant. This has resulted in a rich array of products and projects including:

  • Cafe Kairos
  • The 7 awards winning film: Ecological Design: Inventing the Future.
  • The film's companion book: Design Outlaws on the Ecological Frontier.
  • Genius Loci Gallery (ongoing)
  • Speculations on Eco-Resorts in the 21st Century. Epilogue published in a Knossus published book on Cape May.
  • 3 Ideas to Tweak the World video (a music video featuring new green designs)
  • Warren County Correctional Center Video (a video featuring an overview of the community service program).
  • Some Songs to the Stars, a Video, Book and Music CD based on the poetry of Ian McHarg.
  • City21, a forthcoming film on the Future of Cities.

With the Design Outlaws site, Knossus are hoping to create a meeting point for people with like minds regarding building a sustainable future. If you have something that you think is of value and that you would like to contribute here, be it an article, a factoid, or even a question that you think people should be thinking about, please submit it and we will consider it for publication.

March 26 2015

Year of the Sheep

Solar Moon Limi 20 
Kin 252, Yellow Overtone Human


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