Wednesday 17 January 2018

Students harness the power of slurry

Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk students Carrie O’Leary, Derry O’Flynn and Sarah Crowley.
Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk students Carrie O’Leary, Derry O’Flynn and Sarah Crowley.

CROONERS know all about the song 'the power of love,' but how about the 'power of slurry.'

Students at Colaiste Treasa in Kanturk not only researched the power of muck but got highly commended by the adjudicators at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2014 held in Dublin.

Students Carrie O'Leary, Derry O'Flynn and Sarah Crowley are all from farming stock, and they produced electricity from using cattle and pig slurry.

Teacher Derry O'Donovan told The Corkman that the students found the most effective voltage came from pig slurry in a closed pit.

All students were interested in taking on a project that related to agriculture as well as the hot topic of renewable energy sources.

They began to research a published project in Stanford University, California on using benthic mud converted to electricity.

The three Duhallow students decided to go one step further and began to use pig and cattle slurry.

The title of their project was aptly, 'the power of muck,' and they investigated microbial fuel cells with the view of developing a cell using locally sourced mud and, in particular, mud from wintering paddocks and slurry.

They began the study in September and worked through lunch times and even during the weekends to gather up various published research as well as logging their own testing.

Student Derry O'Flynn told The Corkman that he found the project very interesting but it required a lot of hard work.

He said two days after St Stephen's Day, the trio put their heads down and slogged for many hours to make sure their submission would grab the judges attention.

After working on this project, he said that he was now very interested in going down the science route in college and would like to study either pharmacy or radiology.

"This was a great experience for all of us and there was a great social scene as we met a lot of new friends and got see such other high quality projects," said Derry.

With a smile, he said that the title of their project, 'The power of muck,' certainly grabbed people's attention.


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