Greenwich High School’s Colin Speaker Wins Prestigious Research Prize

Greenwich High School Junior Colin Speaker was selected as the State of Connecticut Winner for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP). The SJWP is an international competition for original, student, science research projects with a focus on sustainability of our planet’s water resources.

Greenwich High School Science Teacher and Research Advisor Mr. Andrew Bramante said, “I’m so very proud of Colin for identifying a global need that reaches well beyond our own community, using his curiosity, talents, and ingenuity to devise a real, attainable solution for those that need potable water. Colin’s amazing work is a result of many hours of work on evenings, weekends, and during holidays, which speaks volumes of his commitment, and love for discovery. I couldn’t be more excited for him, and wish him the best moving forward in the competition!”

Colin was selected among many applicants throughout the state, for his project entitled “Enhancement of the Efficiency of Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) Systems Using Riboflavin as a Photocatalyst.” For his project, Colin tackles the issue of lack of clean, potable drinking water, particularly in underdeveloped regions, where water purification is scarce. In particular, more than two million people in the developing world rely on solar water disinfection systems, or SODIS, to remove harmful bacteria from water supplies. The application of these SODIS systems are limited, as they are quite large, and their overall efficiency (at removing bacteria) is often inadequate.

In his research, Colin designed an easily-constructed (for a consumer/household) SODIS, which purifies water based on a combination of UV-radiation, and the addition of 0.1% riboflavin, or Vitamin B, which is naturally found in our bodies. Colin found that the addition of 0.1% riboflavin increased the antibacterial efficiency of the UV-basedSODIS, so that virtually all bacteria is inactivated in only minutes of passing through his newly-designed system.

As the selected State of Connecticut winner, Colin will now participate in the National SJWP Competition to be held virtually from June 4-11.

The winner of this competition will be selected as the national winner and will go on to compete in the International SJWP, in Stockholm, Sweden.