The ultimate goal of our projects lies on promoting the publics' awareness on heavy metal water pollution issue. The following will be some brief introduction on the different works and goals we planned to meet during the process of implementing our project.
Phase I: Recollecting Cadmium in Laboratory Waste Water
In the process of producing quantum dots and other products that contains heavy metal, lots of pollution may occur. Those pollution, if not treated properly, will cause further bad effects to our environment. At the same time, if we can recollect the heavy metal from contaminated water and remade them into useful products, that could be a very effective circular economy model for many companies and laboratories.
Putting that in mind, the first goal of NTHU iGEM is to help collect the heavy metal cadmium from waste water in laboratories and smaller scale companies. By doing that, we believe that we can help reduce pollution and create economical value out from waste.
Phase II: Produce Quantum Dots in Larger Scale
By the cadmium we recollected from waste polluted water, iGEM NTHU has developed a device — BioSQUAD — that can reproduce cadmium quantum dots out from the recollected heavy metal. In recent years where demands on displays (ex: cellphone, computers, and televisions) grow, the demands on quantum dots have also been growing sharply. That indicates that BioSQUAD is having a large market potential in the quantum dots market.
On the other hand, according to our survey on environmentally friendly products (see 'Human Practices' page for further details), many customers indicate that they will prefer products that are produced in a more environmentally friendly way. In this phase, we hope that we can cooperate with quantum dots manufacturing companies, and replace their current chemical synthesis pathway of quantum dots with our circular economy business model.
Phase III: Raise Public Awareness on Heavy Metal Water Pollution
Quantum dots have many applications, and one of them focused on environment sensing. In August, we have the honor to interview the environmental activist Jui-Kuang Chao, expert who has been investigating Taiwan heavy water pollution issue for years. Chao mentioned about the importance of raising publics' awareness on the heavy metal water pollution issue (see 'Human Practices' page for more detail). Moved by his words, we decided to build a device that can help promote the issue to the public.
With the technical support and suggestions from Prof. Hsueh-Shih Chen, expert in quantum dots manufacturing, we confirmed that quantum dots have the potential on supporting polluted water detection. Through further engineering steps, we are able to engineer the quantum dots we have produced into devices that changes color when higher concentration of heavy metal is detected. Through that, we believe that it could be a way to help raise public awareness on heavy metal water pollution issue.