Since 2011, Google has been holding an annual science fair for students ages 13 to 18 around the world, inviting them to perform experiments and present results in front of a panel of judges. This year’s Google Science Fair winning project aims to remove microplastics from the ocean.
Fionn Ferreira, an 18-year-old from Ireland, was awarded a $50,000 scholarship for his idea to use magnets to filter microplastics from bodies of water. Ferreira achieved this with a magnetic liquid called ferrofluid, which sticks to plastic, and which is then attracted to the magnets and removed from the water.
After thousands of tests, he believes his invention could remove at least 87 percent of microplastics from water. Recognition isn’t a new thing for the prolific young scientist — he is a curator at the Schull Planetarium in West Cork, has been the winner of 12 other science competitions and had a minor planet named after him (Fionnferreira) by MIT.