Profile: Marcus Deans, inventor with a conscience

CBC Kids News
Story by CBC Kids News • Published 2018-11-03 07:00

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Who is he?

Hometown: 

Windsor, Ont.

Age:

16

Claim to fame:

Deans invented NOGOS, a water filtration system that removes bacteria from dirty water using affordable materials. He was named as one of the recipients of the 2018 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. Each year this prestigious award recognizes 25 young leaders, ages eight to 18, who make a positive impact on people, communities and the environment.

His inspiration:

When he was 12, he saw a picture of a girl in Ghana having to drink filthy brown water. He was shocked to learn that kids his age living in developing countries didn’t have any other choice but to drink contaminated water when he could simply turn on the tap and have fresh, clean water any time.

From that moment, Deans was on a mission to create a water filter that was low-cost and useful. He put in countless hours of research and development, and consulted with experts from around the world.

A mother and child at a dirty water source in a developing country.

This picture inspired Deans to find a solution for safe, consumable water. (Submitted by the Barron Prize)

NOGOS stands for nano-oligosaccharide doped graphene sand composite filter. Deans built it by lining the bottom with a thin layer of cotton, then covered it with gravel and layers of the graphene mixture of sugar, sand and chitosan, which is a material extracted from seashells.

The NOGOS filter is gravity-propelled, which means the water will have to be poured into the top of the device and will trickle down through the layers. According to Deans, his invention is able to filter out a variety of pollutants, including aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, salt and iron, resulting in drinkable water that is comparable to Canadian tap water.

He has been working on the project for four years and will soon begin testing the design to see if it can be made in large numbers, making it affordable for developing countries.

NOGOS water filter, an invention by Marcus Deans.

NOGOS is a water filtration system that uses sugar, sand and seashells to remove contaminants and bacteria to make water safe to drink. (Submitted by the Barron Prize)

On challenges he faced:

Deans says, “One of the worst times was when I put clean water into the filter and it came out black. I wanted to give up, but I knew that if kids my age could spend hours a day getting water, I could also persevere and complete my work.”

In his own words: “There will be so many problems that you are faced with, but by remembering what you are trying to achieve, anything is possible. At the same time, sometimes it’s important to take a step back and think about how to approach a problem differently or ask someone else for their thoughts.

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CBC Kids News
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