The Water Boys


The Water Boys are a group of applied scientists, based in Lisburn, who have designed and prototyped a low-cost, low-tech solution to the problem of water contaminated with nitrates and phosphates.

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What we do

The Water Boys are a group of applied scientists who have designed and prototyped a low-cost, low-tech solution to the problem of water contaminated by nitrates and phosphates. Their solution is a physical and natural chemical compound filter that removes over 90% of nitrates and phosphates from polluted water. The by-product of the chemical reaction, calcium nitrate, can be used as a fertiliser for soil. A highly-motivated team, the students have completed a short course in computer-aided design and 3D printing which has allowed them to prototype and carry out preliminary tests confirming the effectiveness of their filter.

The students' innovative prototype has taken them to the semi-finals of Catalyst NI's prestigious innovation competition, Invent 2020, which will see them present a live pitch to a panel of 4 business experts (June 3rd), who will then quiz them on their product and its industry application. The students also secured a place in the finals of ECO-UNESCO's Young Environmentalist Award 2020 (May 2020), which made them one of 151 teams who progressed from the 500 groups who applied to the competitive final. 

The team is currently researching other compounds that could be added to the filter to expand the profile of contaminants it removes. Their goal is to develop a filter which will provide safe drinking water for those without access to potable water in areas of Africa and South Asia. 

  • Founded:January 2020
  • Lecturer:Michael Holmes
  • Contact:mholmes@serc.ac.uk
  • Course:Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Applied Science
  • Campus:Lisburn
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