Fionn Ferreira

I am a speaker

Fionn Ferreira

Fionn Ferreira is an 18 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 sustainability. 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 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 a spectrometer and a microscope from scratch for his analysis. 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. 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.



Fionn Ferreira is an experienced and confident speaker who has spoken at numerous prestigious events. He loves to inspire others with his talks. Learn more by reading his bio linked in the menu above. If you would like fionn to be at your event, conatact his

Good Communicator

I enjoy speaking to people and giving them knowledge. I have gaind valuable experience in this at Schull Planetarium, where I am the curator and head lecturer.


I am fascinated by the garden and nature.


I love new ideas and projects! I enjoy a good challange.


I get excited about science and innovation. I have done many award winning science projects. Including one winning the Google Science Fair 2019


I have achieved a high level at playing the trumpet and have played in several orchestras.


An award winner at the student enterprise competitions, I like thinking of new business ideas and following them through.

Science fair projects
Years of living
Science fair awards
Planetarium lectures I have given
Websites made (you're looking at one right now!)
Languages I speak fluently
Grades in the trumpet
Number of minor planets named after me
  • 2019 Straubel Leadership Award winner

    It is my pleasure to have been selected as one of the warad winners of the Straubel Foundation's leadership awards. They are awarded to change makers from around the world for helping to make an impact in may different ways.
    Read more about my fellows on the website:

  • National Geographic Open Explorer

    I am really pleased to say that I have started a National Geographic Open Explorer blog to share my story and my project progress.
    I would really appreciate it if you were to follow me and my progress.
    Here is a link to the blog

  • Winning Google Science Fair 2018-19

    I am so proud to have been named the winner of the 2018-2019 Google Science Fair.
    I cannot wait to be mentored and engage with scientists with my project.
    The Google Scence Fair gave me a uniqe experience of Google and where I got to meet many different scientists and engineers.
    I have made friends and love what a wonderful, eductational community this fair has created.

  • Google Science fair Global finalist!

    I am so pleased to have been selected as one of the top 20 projects of the 2018 Google Science Fair from thousands of applicants to travel to the Google Headquarters and compete for several prizes this coming July 2019.
    watch my reaction on video:!/story.php?story_fbid=2372222826161337&id=146552575395051&anchor_composer=false

    Read more about my project:
    Read a press release:

  • TG4 at Schull Planetarium

    I really enjoyed working with TG4 for a part of their documentary celebrating 50 yers since Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I found it interesting to present facts about the moon and our planetarium in Irish. The documentary will be shown on TG4 during July.

  • A minor planet was naimed after me!

    I would like to thank the MIT Lincoln Laboratory for choosing my project from the intel ISEF projects as one which has contributed to science. This means that a dwarf planet (fionnferreira) has been named after me!
    I am delighted to have this great honour.

  • Entry into google science fair

    The video shows a detailed summary of my project

  • Summer term starts at Schull Planetarium

    Schull planetarium will be open with starshows given by Fionn Ferreira this summer 3 times a week.
    I really enjoy being able to design and give the planetarium shows, which greatly develops my communication and interpersonal skills.
    As well as being the planetarium curator, I do all of the graphic design and lecturing.

  • Schull student Fionn Ferreria zaps microplastic pollution

    The sunday times, June 10th 2018

    An Irish teenager has created a liquid that can remove microplastics from water, writes Laoise Neylon. The tiny plastic particles have become a significant source of pollution in seas and oceans, and often end up in fish that people eat.

    Fionn Ferreira, 17, from Schull, Co Cork said that his invention removes microplastics by magnetising them. “Essentially it is a process that works with ferrofluid, a magnetic liquid,” he explained.
     Both oil and plastic are non-polar, which means they do not possess a negative or positive charge, and so in the presence of water they will attract each other and stick together. Ferreira adds oil and magnetite, an iron ore, to the water and this solution attracts the microplastics. “Then I can pull it all out with a magnet,” he said.

     Industry, households, water-treatment centres and mineral-water companies could potentially reduce the microplastic contamination of water by about 87%, he believes. Sophisticated filtration systems capable of removing microplastics do exist, but are not being used because they also remove other items from water, including minerals. Because of its liquid nature, Ferreira thinks his invention could be scaled up and used by industry to reduce pollution. “I’m thinking about a continuous flow system,” he said.
     “There would be a layer of ferrofluid and contaminated water would flow through it.” Any traces of magnetite and vegetable oil that remain would be entirely harmless to the environment, he said. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is currently conducting a review of existing evidence on whether consumption of microplastics is harmful.

    It has yet to establish whether they are present in water at concentrations harmful to human health. Ferreira, a student at Schull Community College, recently won two awards for his idea at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Patent developer Intellectual Ventures also gave him its Insightful Invention Award. It is hoped that Ferreira’s invention can be scaled up to allow water-treatment facilities to remove microplastics at a relatively low cost. Nathan Myhrvold, founder and chief executive of Intellectual Ventures, said: “There are a lot of engineering challenges still to be solved to do that, but the use of chemical and electromagnetic separation techniques together is a potentially powerful combination.” He added that the volume of plastics littering the ocean continued to grow every year, and a huge source of this pollution was municipal wastewater and stormwater. “Any technology that could efficiently allow plastics to be captured from these wastewater flows before they are discharged would be a big win for the environment.”

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    2019 Straubel Leadership Award winner

    It is my pleasure to have been selected as one of the warad winners of the Straubel Foundation's leadership awards. They are awarded to ...


    Groningen, Netherlands


    Please email my manager Nan Fisher at