Water good idea: Fionn's sea plastic plan a global winner
An Irish student has carried off a global science award - including €45,000 in prize money - with a project aimed at saving the world's oceans from the growing problem of micro-plastics.
Fionn Ferreira, who sat his Leaving Cert in June, emerged as the overall winner at the Google Science Fair, an annual online science and technology competition for 13- to 18-year-olds which attracts thousands of entries.
The 18-year-old former pupil of Schull Community College, Co Cork, was the only European among the 24 finalists from 14 countries at Google's global headquarters in California for the event.
Fionn has been a regular entrant in the BT Young Scientist Exhibition and has a minor planet named after him in recognition of his achievement at the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Living by the sea, he sees the effects of plastic pollution on beaches. In his search for a solution, he discovered that there was no filtering of micro-plastics in any European wastewater treatment centre.
His investigations led him to ferrofluid, a magnetic liquid used to clean up oil spills.
The student adapted it and says that in his tests it removed at least 87pc of plastic particles.