SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Indian American teen Chaitanya Karamchedu is turning heads across the nation. That’s because the teenager has invented an affordable method to turn seawater potable.

Karamchedu’s project has since caught the inquiring minds of major technology firms and universities across the country.

The Jesuit High School student from Portland, Ore. told a local TV station of his big plans to change the world. He was inspired after reading the staggering statistic that one in eight people across the globe do not have access to clean drinking water. “One in eight people do not have access to clean water, it’s a crying issue that needs to be addressed,” he said.

“The best access to water is the sea. Seventy percent of the planet is covered in water and almost all of that is the ocean, but the problem is that’s salt water,” Karamchedu said.

Converting the ocean’s saltwater into clean drinking water is a matter of scientific development that has stumped industry leaders for several years. But the teenager figured out a way to do it in his high school science laboratory. “The real genesis of the idea was realising that sea water is not fully saturated with salt,” he said.

By experimenting instead with a highly absorbent polymer, Karamchedu discovered a much more cost-effective way to remove the salt from the water, thus converting it into clean drinking water. It’s a discovery, that if ever implemented, would undoubtedly change the lives of millions across the globe.

Karamchedu won a $10,000 award from the U.S. Agency for International Development at Intel’s International Science Fair and second place at MIT’s TechCon where he won more money to continue his research. “They were very encouraging, they could see things into it that I couldn’t, because they’ve been working their whole lives on this,” he said.

Karamchedu has also been named one of 300 semifinalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, one of the most prestigious competitions in the U.S. for high school seniors.