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Ecotech Student Builds Water Purification Systems for Orphanage

Three buckets with varying grades of rocks and sand to be used in water filtration system developed by Charles Kim.

Charles Kim always wanted to work for a nonprofit and make a difference in the world. When asked why he enrolled in the Renewable Energy Technology (RET) program at Ecotech Institute, he said, “I wanted to learn something that I could apply to better the world.” Charles is currently a student at Ecotech Institute, and recently finished his Capstone project, a water purification system for communities in need.

In 2011, Charles bought land in India, and began building an orphanage for a local village He helped build the orphanage, and returned a year later to install solar panels. When he returned to visit, he noticed the community struggled to find clean drinking water.

“I experienced it myself,” he said. “We had to walk over two miles to the Ganges river, and carried the sewage water that ran off the pipelines back to the village.”

To address this problem, Charles began working with his Capstone instructor, Ecotech Institute’s Wind Energy Technology Program Director, Shawn Lamb. Together they designed a water purification system that uses sand and rocks to purify the water. The system is simple to install and uses few materials, making it ideal for communities in developing countries.

After finishing his design, he sent 10 water purification system kits to his orphanage in India. After nine months, he checked in with the orphanage, and found 25 water purification systems operating successfully. “It’s helping a lot,” he said.

After graduating from the RET program at Ecotech, Kim plans to continue to work on projects that help others. He is looking to work for a nonprofit that will allow him to implement his ideas and help people in need. He also would like to continue to work on other side projects. He recently bought land in Honduras, where he plans to build another orphanage over the next few years.

When asked to give advice to students looking into careers in renewable energy, he said, “Don’t be scared to ask questions. Don’t be scared to share your dreams. I learned that at Ecotech Institute, your dreams can come true.”