WBU officials going a step beyond classroom education 

Release Date: March 9, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University administrators, faculty and students are planning to go a step beyond the normal, textbook education by putting a classroom research project into practical application.

For the past several years, Dr. Joyl Boyd, associate professor of chemistry, has led a research group that was intent upon developing a simple, cost-effective means to purify water. Over the last four years, different students have continued to build upon previous research, bringing the project to its current state in which the school already has one patent in place and another pending. The research is based on using titania and light to remove impurities, including metals, lead, arsenic, pesticides, herbicides, petroleum by-products and more from drinking water. The process also converts algae, bacteria and protozoa to non-toxic, inert substances.

Now, with the research in place, the School of Math and Sciences is joining forces with the School of Business and Wayland’s Missions Center to put the lab work into practical use.

“This is our chance to do things together and that we cannot do ourselves,” Boyd said. “We need to function together as a team, analogous to the Body of Christ.”

Simply put, the School of Math and Sciences will provide the means to create the water purification systems then turn the process over to the School of Business which will determine the best way to market the products to consumers. Once the purification systems are in production, they will be sold with the proceeds funding mission projects around the world. The plan is to use the proceeds to produce more purification systems that can be distributed through the work of the Missions Center to developing countries where pure water is unavailable.

“Through this process, you can take the rankest water you can find and turn it into drinkable water,” said Wayland Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Bobby Hall. “This project has the potential to change lives around the world.”

The relatively simple production process can create purification systems that can be used in something as small as a personal water bottle for outdoor enthusiasts, or larger systems that can clean coy ponds. In essence, they could also be produced on a massive scale to purify water for a village.

Dr. Hall, Dr. Boyd and Dr. Rick Shaw, director of the Missions Center, held a preliminary meeting with students who are interested in working on the project. Dr. Hall ensured them that Wayland is committed to this project, having funneled additional funding to the research aspects of the project over the last few years and making a commitment to do so as the project progresses.

“There is no interest in profitability, and there are no strings attached,” Hall said. “We are using the resources at this institution to make a difference in this world.”

There is no specific timeline for completion of the project as groups from the School of Business and Missions Center will need to research their specific areas. While the business and marketing students are trying to determine the best way to market the device for consumers, the mission students will be looking at developing countries to determine where the technology will be appropriate and accepted. Once in place, the technology to produce the purification systems can be passed on to these cultures that can then produce their own systems as needed. The process uses basic materials that are easily accessed.

Anyone interested in helping with the project may contact Dr. Boyd at 291-1125.