Teen Invents Drought-Fighting Water Storage Miracle!

What does a 16-year old Johannesburg student and the Agri SA, an agricultural union, have in common? Both were seeking help for farmers crippled by South Africa’s worst drought in recorded history. But while the union sought more than $1 billion in subsidies, Kiara Nirghin, a teen schoolgirl who won the Community Impact Award in Google’s Science Fair for Africa and the Middle East for her innovate invention – a sustainable polymer that can store water.

Kiara’s submission was entitled “No More Thirsty Crops,” and her invention really is a miracle. Her chosen materials? orange peels and avocado skins that she turned into a super absorbent polymer (SAP) that is able to hold large amounts of liquid weight. The goal is to enable farmers to form reservoirs to protect and store precious water. The best thing about the invention? There are several. First, the cost appears to be within a farmers reach. The fix is also sustainable for the environment and is easy to manufacture.

Her trial and error project came to fruition when she was able to combine the skin of an orange peel containing the gelling agent pectin with the skin from an avocado. When she left the combination in the sun, the two reacted to form a powerful polymer.

Kiara is now working with Google’s product development mentor to further develop the product. Next step? Field testing. Her future plans? Kiara is in the running to become one of Google’s sixteen global finalists. Kiara is also considering a career in the field of health sciences or engineering. Her hope? To improve the world.

Congratulations Kiara Nirghin!

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