Teen’s 2019 Google Science Fair Project Could Eliminate Microplastics From the Ocean, Wins First Prize

August 7, 2019 Updated: August 11, 2019

The planet is in desperate need of a cleanup, and sometimes it seems like there just doesn’t seem to be enough innovation or motivation behind the momentous issue.

When tech megacompany Google announced the winner of their 2019 Science Fair, though, they showed that there are still some brilliant minds out there putting all of their attention towards making sure that we leave the earth a better place than we found it—and that maybe, some conservation efforts that can make a real difference are on the horizon after all.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Gabriele Wahl

Eighteen-year-old Fionn Ferreira, from West Cork, Ireland, was announced as the competition’s winner this July, taking home the honors after presenting “an investigation into the removal of microplastics from water using ferrofluids.”

The idea utilizes “ferrofluids,” which are liquid magnets, to filter out microplastics from the water and clean up our lakes, rivers, and oceans in the process. It addresses a massive concern, as microplastics are a major pollutant but are too small to be cleaned up using traditional methods—so after reading about the use of ferrofluids to clean up oil spills, he decided to investigate how he could use it for other types of pollution too.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Fionn Ferreira‎‏ في الاثنين، ٢١ مايو ٢٠١٨

“My project came about as I was constantly hearing about plastic pollution on the news, and as I live by the sea in West Cork I was also seeing the real effects on our beaches every day. I discovered to my dismay that at present no screening or filtering for microplastics takes place in any European wastewater treatment centers, so I started looking around for a solution,” he said, via CorkBeo.

“Seeing that there was none I decided to investigate further, eventually finding a way to use ferrofluid, a magnetic liquid which sticks to the plastic allowing it to be removed using magnets.”

Ferreira, who attended Schull Community College this past year, flew all the way to Mountain View, California, to present his ideas last spring at Google’s headquarters. This wasn’t his first science competition entry—in addition to working at a planetarium in Cork, he boasts a whopping 12 science fair awards amassed over the years—but it may by far be the most prestigious and far-reaching.

Today we’re announcing the #GoogleScienceFair global finalists. Get ready for an overload of inspiration! Check out their outstanding projects → https://www.googlesciencefair.com/

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Google Science Fair‎‏ في الأربعاء، ٢٩ مايو ٢٠١٩

He impressed the judges so much that he beat out the dozens of other incredibly bright applicants from around the world, taking home a $50,000 educational bursary.

His fellow contestants, who won’t take home quite as much in funding, came to the table with everything from an affordable, continuous glucose monitor to a study on how to improve communication for those with impaired hearing; with contestants from as far as Indonesia and Russia, Ferreira’s victory truly shows how brilliant his project is on a worldwide scale.

He’ll use the money to help further his education—which he plans to further in the Netherlands—before hopefully moving on into the research field in a way that will make a difference for the future of the world’s water. The ocean may still need plenty of TLC, but it’s kids like this who give hope that there’s help on the way!

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Fionn Ferreira‎‏ في الجمعة، ٢٤ فبراير ٢٠١٧

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