Mexican student manages to purify water using a nopal compound

Shirley Kimberly Enríquez. Image: Agency
Shirley Kimberly Enríquez. Image: Agency

The creation of a capsule that takes advantage of a nopal compound can now make the water drinkable. The best thing is not only that a product from Mexico is used, but it was developed by Shirley Kimberly Enríquez, a Mexican student of Energy Engineering and Sustainable Development of the Universidad del Valle de México (UVM).

Only one capsule of cactus mucilage can purify one liter of water; if it was not enough, its elaboration is from beginning to end it is free of CO2 emissions since it does not use fuels in any part of the process.

Enríquez has called it Noptec, which is 100% sustainable and is a proposal to solve the problem of access to drinking water that Mexico and other nations in marginalized communities suffer from.

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), drinking non-leg water for consumption and lack of water for personal hygiene are factors involved in the rates of loss of life due to diarrheal diseases, especially in children.

Shirley Kimberly Enríquez stressed that thanks to Noptec people could have easy and affordable access to drinking water. The capsule was able to purify the water of bacteria, mineral salts and heavy metals such as selenium and lead.


The creation of Noptec is based on the process of dehydrated cactus. In conjunction with UVM Mechatronics students, Abdiel Acosta, Julián Mora, Alejandro Trejo, and César Ramírez was built a solar stove, which was composed of waste ensuring low cost.

For the development of the capsule, a cactus compound called mucilage is used and it is achieved due to the grouping of suspended colloidal particles. The process begins with the separation of the epidermis from the cactus; Subsequently, the cladode is blanched and a solar cooker is used for this. Then filtering is carried out, the remaining material is placed in a water bath, and finally, the precipitation and drying of the mucilage are done to crush it and place it in capsules.

The nopal was obtained through an agreement with a producer community of Milpa Alta.
The nopal was obtained through an agreement with a producer community of Milpa Alta.

"The alliance consists in that they will provide us with some of their crops and we in return give them the product for their consumption and, in turn, we train them so that they can also do it. With this union, a great benefit is obtained for both parties and a value chain is achieved ", explained Enríquez.

Mechatronics students will also make their contribution by implementing the use of solar cookers in the Community of Milpa Alta. A great achievement that bears the "made in Mexico" stamp thanks to the young talent of Mexican minds.

by Agency

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