Manhasset students finalists in global clean technology competition

Manhasset students finalists in global clean technology competition
Manhasset's Ava Malysa (left) and Samantha Palmadessa (right) were finalists in an international clean technology contest earlier this month. (Photos courtesy of the Manhasset School District)

A pair of Manhasset High School students were finalists in an international technology competition earlier this month.

Manhasset Juniors Ava Malysa and Samantha Palmadessa were one of 11 teams throughout the world that competed in the 2022 Spellman HV Clean Tech Competition. Their project was entitled “Electrocoagulation with Aluminum, Copper and Zinc for Aqueous Methylene Blue Remediation and Sustainable Energy Production.” 

Though the pair of students did not place in the top 3, they did receive $1,000 for their research and were one of five teams selected throughout the United States.

Their first-hand interactions witnessing water pollution throughout Long Island, they said, sparked their decision on this research topic.

“Living on Long Island near numerous bodies of water, water pollution is a visible issue that we see on a daily basis,” Palmadessa said. “Global water pollution and unsustainable energy production are two growing and harmful issues.”

“In the process of electrocoagulation, electricity moves into the positively charged anode and oxidizes water by removing an electron, creating oxygen gas and hydrogen ions,” Malysa said. “The removed electrons are conducted back in a negatively charged cathode to create hydrogen gas, which can be captured and used to produce green energy.”

The two tested varying electrode metals, contact times and surveys to determine the optimal conditions for electrocoagulation. They accomplished this by creating a 3D printed lid that “simultaneously assisted in aqueous dye remediation and funneled hydrogen gas.”

The controlled system they created with the lid wound up being “highly successful,” reaching a peak of 100% remediation after five hours and using copper electrodes. The system, they said, was successful in remediating methane blue contaminated water.

The system, Palmadessa said, shows the “great potential for real-world application, especially in developing countries.”

The contest, in its 11th year, brings together students who have proposals on finding ways to develop clean energy and fight global climate change.

“The Clean Tech Competition continues to grow in its worldwide participation and competitiveness as a showcase for innovative ideas,” Executive director of the Center for Science, Teaching and LearningRay Ann Havsy said. “We encourage students worldwide to share their knowledge, ideas and passions for making a difference and preserving our planet for future generations.”

“As we enter the second decade of the Clean Tech Competition, our world is continuing to face growing challenges to which we must find solutions. These young students will play a critical role in developing answers which will make an impact on our natural world. As the sponsor of the Spellman HV Clean Tech Competition, each year we are ever more impressed and inspired by the student competitors,” Spellman HV President Dr. Loren Skeist said prior to the final rulings.


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