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Clean water projects win design competition

MIT graduating students who did clean water projects in Nicaragua and Nepal took the top prizes May 9 in MIT's first IDEAS Design Competition for "original innovative designs that serve a wider community need."

A team headed by Rebecca Hwang, a senior in chemical engineering from Buenos Aires, Argentina, won the $5,000 first prize for her project on colloidal silver ceramic filters in Nicaragua.

A team headed by Tommy Ngai, of Scarborough, Ontario, who is getting his master's degree in civil and environmental engineering, won the $5,000 Lemelson international prize for a combination microbial filter/arsenic treatment system appropriate for South Asia and elsewhere. Ngai's team combined last year's Nepal project--a filter of iron filings to combat arsenic--with a biosand filter for viruses and bacteria.

Another water-project group was among the 10 winners of MIT's 2001-2002 $1K Business Idea Warm-Up Competition. The faculty supervisor for the three water projects is Susan Murcott, a lecturer in civil and environmental engineering.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 22, 2002.

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