Johan DeMessie

Nano-Chitosan Coated Diatomaceous Earth for Removing Chromium(VI) from Contaminated Water
Johan DeMessie

Johan DeMessie


Grade 10

Mason, Ohio

Inducted: 2020-2021


Access to clean water is essential to life, yet there is a global water crisis. Due to heavy metal pollution from natural and manufactured sources, water pollution represents one of the most severe problems. Therefore, the removal of heavy metals is of particular concern to scientists and engineers because of their harmful effects on many life forms. Long-term exposure to heavy metal pollutants such as arsenic and chromium has detrimental health effects. My invention uses a novel high-capacity adsorbent, chitosan, an abundant biopolymer from the outer skeleton of shellfish food waste. I developed a highly effective adsorbent coating of chitosan on diatomaceous earth and waste polyamide nanoparticles. I created a point-of-use (POU) water treatment system with a multi-layer packing for removing multiple pollutants from water. My research involves making the adsorbent, characterizing these adsorbents’ physical, chemical, and surface properties, and determining their adsorption capacity. I used a solution of a chelating agent (EDTA) to regenerate the used adsorbent effectively, lengthening the lifespan of the adsorbent. I developed the point-of-use system based on this adsorbent user that is user friendly, low cost, low maintenance, and grid-independent. Importantly, my filter treats and reduces pollutants in water supplies. When deployed and used by these communities, they could improve the quality and accessibility of water, improving their livelihood.

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Abstract: Society for Science

Award: 1st place, ISEF Climate and Environmental Protection