The great wave that is causing the need to conserve and care for our planet is giving very good news among the youngest. Those who have more interest in having the Earth continue to be a place to live are the ones who are less old and in that goal they seem to work. That is why, from Just the Sea, we are especially happy with the award that an 18-year-old teenager has received, the Irish Fionn Ferreira, who has researched small solutions to improve the state Health of our oceans. He has been the winner of the Google Science Fair Grand Prix 2019, an initiative promoted since 2011 in collaboration with Scientific American and National Geographic to encourage the inventiveness of young people around the world.
The Fionn Ferreira experiment proposes the use of ferrofluids to eliminate microplastics dissolved in water, in a process that could be used in seas and oceans contributing to reduce current pollution.
The project is in a very preliminary phase of development but looks so good that it was imposed on more than 5,000 proposals that reached the stage of this contest of ideas.
Google valued the invention of Fionn that employs a new method for the extraction of microplastics from water using ferrofluid, a non-toxic magnetic liquid consisting of oil and magnetite. In the presence of water, ferrofluid attracts microplastics due to the non-polar properties of both.
Microplastics are plastic fragments with a diameter of 5 mm or less that are very difficult to filter with traditional water treatment systems. They are usually used in the manufacture of shower gels, beauty products or soaps, due to their ability to exfoliate the skin.
What Fionn did was to make a small test by adding vegetable oil and magnetite powder to a sample of water that contained microplastics. He verified that they adhered without mixing with the water. Ferreira ensures that the method has many advantages, since it uses only materials that are not harmful to the environment and the final substances can be separated and reused.
Fionn and other teenagers like him symbolize the change of a generation prepared to improve the planet, a place that belongs more to them than anyone else.