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  • Writer's pictureKyle Tianshi

Removal of Ocean Carbon Dioxide and Oil-in-Water Contaminants via Remedial Framework

Naomi Park, a high school junior from Greenwich, Connecticut, won the US Stockholm Junior Water Prize with her project, "Concurrent Removal of Rising, Soluble Ocean Carbon Dioxide and Oil-in-Water Contaminants via Multi-Functional Remediation Framework." Her project focused on addressing three challenging-to-remove pollutants commonly found in oceans: carbon dioxide, crude oil, and styrofoam. In search of a mitigation method for these contaminants, she came across hyper-crosslinked polymers, or HCPs, which are non-polar, high surface area compounds. These porous HCPs have the ability to efficiently absorb environmental pollutants. However, two limitations existed with this material: the synthesis of HCPs required expensive reagents, and they had not been implemented in real-life settings, as they resembled an insoluble powder.

Naomi solved both these problems by creating HCPs out of styrofoam waste and integrating them into a remediation framework. Her innovative solution effectively and sustainably absorbs both crude oil and carbon dioxide.

Watch Naomi further discuss her project:

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