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Source: Google Science Fair, Fionn Ferreira/YouTube

18-Year-Old's Solution to the Microplastic Crisis Wins the Google Science Fair


Microplastics are a huge issue plaguing our oceans — but at the same time, they're too small to easily remove from the water. However, 18-year-old scientist Fionn Ferreira may have discovered the solution for that. The West Cork, Ireland native just won the Grand Prize at the Google Science Fair for coming up with a pretty genius way to take microplastics out of the ocean.

As explained in Ferreira's report on the Google Science Fair's website, Ferreira's project started when he read a paper by Dr. Arden Warner, who discovered that magnetite powder (aka iron oxide) could clean up oil spills, because the oil and magnetite powder are both non-polar. It gave Ferreira the idea to apply that idea to microplastics in water. So, he threw together a small test at home, and it worked.