Business Ideas

Photocatalytic composite and Sunlight to Clean Water

A Mighty Girl

On family trips to India as a child, Deepika Kurup often saw kids like herself forced to drink dirty water — as a result, at age 14, this Mighty Girl became determined to find to a way to ensure that everyone has access to safe drinking water. For an 8th grade project, the Nashua, New Hampshire teen invented a water purification system that uses a photocatalytic composite and sunlight to clean water — an invention which earned her recognition as America’s Top Young Scientist in 2012. Three years later, the now 17-year-old scientist has spent several years improving her purification system and is currently one of the finalists for the 2015 Google Science Fair!

According to Deepika, access to clean water is a global crisis; “one-ninth of the global population lacks access to clean water,” she explains “and 500,000 children die every year because of water related diseases.” On the trips to India, her immigrant parents’ native land, Deepika saw the struggle for clean water first hand: “[My parents] would have to boil the water before we drank it. I also saw children on the streets of India… take these little plastic bottles and they’re forced to fill it up with the dirty water they see on the street. And they’re forced to drink that water, because they don’t have another choice. And then I go back to America and I can instantly get tap water.”

Her early investigations into water purification methods found that many of them were expensive and potentially hazardous. “Traditionally, to purify waste water, they use chlorine, and chlorine can create harmful byproducts,” she points out. “Also, you have to keep replenishing the chlorine, you have to keep putting chlorine into the waste water to purify it.” She wanted to invent a new way to clean water that would be both cheap and sustainable.

Deepika came up with the idea of using a photocatalyst — a substance that reacts with water’s impurities when energized by the sun — that also filters the water. The combination of the reaction and the filtration can remove most contaminants for a fraction of the cost of chlorine purification. She determined that her system reduces the presence of coliform bacteria by 98% immediately after filtration and by 100% within 15 minutes. Another advantage is that her catalyst is reusable: “a catalyst doesn’t get used up in the reaction,” she says. “Theoretically you can keep using my composite forever.”

Deepika’s efforts have already by widely recognized — in addition to being named America’s Top Young Scientist in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, she was also the recipient of the 2013 President’s Environmental Youth Award and the 2014 U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize, and she was named one of Forbes Magazine’s 2015 “30 Under 30 in Energy.” She’s also excited to meet the other finalists at next week’s Google Science Fair’s Finalist Ceremony — even if it means missing a few days of classes at her new school, Harvard University, where she plans to study neurobiology. Most of all, she’s looking for forward to taking her research from the lab to real life: “It’s one thing to be working in a lab, doing this, and another thing to actually deploy it and see it working in the real world. So that’s one of my steps in the future.”

To learn more about Deepika’s research, you can visit her Google Science Fair project page at

If you’d like to encourage your own Mighty Girl’s interest in science, we showcased our favorite science kits and toys in our blog post, “Science At Play: Top 20 Science Toys for Mighty Girls” at

For several stories to inspire your Mighty Girl’s spirit of discovery — all for ages 4 to 8 — check out “Rosie Revere, Engineer” (,”11 Experiments That Failed” (, and “I Wonder” (

To inspire children and teens with more stories of girls and women in science — both in fiction and real-life — visit our “Science & Technology” section at…/general-int…/science-technology

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And, if your Mighty Girl loves to show off her love of science and technology, visit our STEM-themed t-shirt section at

Calendar, Innovation, Networking

Jugaad – Dare to Innovate

Jugaad is both a wake-up call for mature companies with over-developed processes of institutional innovation, and a primer for how to be resourceful with scarce resources. From ordinary men to Intellectuals, low-tech street corner entrepreneurs to large industrial conglomerates, all those who have dared to dream & convert their ideas into reality are here to interact with like minded people who believe in their ideas & have the never die spirit to keep on innovating.
You are welcome to participate & interact with these innovators, mentors & Ideators at CII’s conference Jugaad – Dare to Innovate at The Lalit ,Sahar , Mumbai on 5th Dec 2012

Click Here for more details

Innovation, Motivations, News

Are You THiNK-ing of Rising ?

THiNK is India’s most unique, thought-provoking and egalitarian platform for ideas from across the globe. THiNK brings together brilliant, cutting-edge minds from an unprecedented range of disciplines. Science. Technology. Medicine. Politics. Business. Media. Religion. Sports. People’s movements. And the Arts. Click Here for more on their website.


Rise is a call to action.

It’s the challenger spirit that leads us to tackle the problems India faces today. It means making decisions – big and small – that change the future. From being one of millions who decide to use less electricity at home, to being the one in a million who designs a revolutionary new technology, we are the ones who must take risks and innovate. We are the ones who will shape India.

This is Rise–the optimism, determination, and grit to take responsibility for a better future.

What is Tipping Point?

India: Vast, heterogenous, disparate. India: Ingenious, enterprising, innovative.

Anywhere else in the world, only one of these could ring true but in India, reality does not exist in a single dimension. There are multiple realities, multiple India’s, each as ‘real’ as the other. If there is an India where water is scarce and hunger is the norm, there is also an India where the cutting-edge is developed and new ground broken every day. There’s an India of shame, and an India of excellence.

And there is a segment of people – niche, driven, and ingenious – who are working to make these two Indias merge.

Innovators who believe there is a way to combat the challenges of India through great ideas, creative solutions and incredible commitment.

This is not ‘jugaad’. These are not stopgap or clumsy ideas to stitch patchy solutions onto a tattered canvas. These are some of the best and brightest minds in the country who have devoted themselves to becoming part of the development process; of driving change, not just enjoying it.

These are the innovators who are working to conquer some of India’s most formidable challenges. They exist in small towns and in our biggest cities. They range from the affluent to the cash-strapped. And they apply themselves to problems that affect thousands, sometimes millions of lives, using their skills and strengths to offer lasting solutions.

To us, they constitute India’s most undervalued asset and that’s where we come in – to find and share these incredible innovations, to spark change and magnify it, to provide a forum where ideas can go from hyperlocal to global; where others can have access to genius and apply these innovations to their own problems.

We’re combing the country to find examples of intelligent, scalable innovation – and we’re going to pick 20 of the best to be featured here, and on the pages of Tehelka. These are some of the most compelling and untold stories of our time – and they reflect yet another India. A country that can meet and master any challenge.

Click Here for Tipping Point