20 year old young creates a magnet that attracts microplastics to pull them out of the water

Fionn Ferreira is a 20 year-old scientist and engineer. Fionn has spent a large proportion of his time building and working on challenges that he is passionate about as well as educating people about science. Fionn has given many Keynote presentations about his work to varied audiences addressing plastic pollution and creative problem solving; utilizing a child’s mindset when trying to solve real-world problems. 

He grew up in West Cork, Ireland, a very remote region surrounded by the stunning irish landscape and scenery. When Fionn saw plastic pollution levels increase on the seashore this sparked a determination in him to strive to come up with ways to combat this. He worked with his limited resources at home which included LEGO bricks and wood to make contraptions to gather, categorize or remove this from the coast. 

When Fionn heard about microplastics, he became very passionate about finding a way to combat the issue. He searched frantically online for previous research into methods of removal from water to find out that there were none practical ones available. He decided to start researching and developed a non-harmful way to extract these microplastics from water using vegetable oil and rust powder. To test how efficient this was, he built his own equipment to measure this. 

Fionn left top scientists and engineers at awe as he was named the Grand prize global winner of the Google Science Fair 2019 and award winner at the Intel International Science and Engineering fair. Following the Google Science Fair, Fionn received much attention from many researches and labs across the world to try and put his invention to use. He received record media coverage including Forbes, Business insider, National Geographic and CNN, as well as engagements to give keynote style presentations about his work at numerous events including the World Economic Forum 2020. Fionn is studying Chemistry at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. Like this, he wishes to gather the tools required to solve many more problems in the future. 

He is currently working on building a prototype for his extraction equipment which he is aiming to have implemented in wastewater treatment and shipping in the future. Fionn wishes to promote a child-like mindset when it comes to solving scientific problems and plays the trumpet at the university orchestra.

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