BY JACKIE KEOGH
AN internationally award-winning student from Schull – who secured high marks in his Leaving Certificate this week – was happy to point out the irony of going to a college in the Netherlands that doesn’t require points.
But for 18-year-old student Fionn Ferreira – who has found a way of removing microplastics from water using a magnetic liquid – his career has already begun, because major companies have expressed an interest in his invention, as has Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher, who is also a major investor in IT and innovation.
Fionn, a student of Schull Community College, got 576 points in his Leaving Certificate, but he may have got an even bigger thrill the week before, when Ashton Kutcher tweeted about him, saying: ‘I think a teenager just cracked microplastics’.
Fionn – who won the ‘Grand Global Award’ at the Google Science Fair in California recently – responded, saying: ‘Thank you for your support, Ashton. It is amazing to get support from people like you. I am really pleased to get people excited about our environment.’
He confirmed to The Southern Star that Ashton Kutcher also posted congratulatory remarks on Facebook and that they are now in contact via email.
The student confirmed that ‘lots of different firms have been in touch and many have shown their support’, but when asked if Kutcher could be a potential investor in helping to roll out his ground-breaking invention, Fionn said: ‘I can confirm that I have been in email contact with him, but I can’t share any information on that just yet.’
Fionn, who said his long-term ambition in life was to ‘solve problems and get other people excited about science’, had plenty of praise for his alma mater.
He said: ‘Schull Community College allows students to be close to the environment and nature, but also receive exemplary tuition from teachers who are tuned to the student’s individual needs.’
Fionn has certainly found – and is following – his passion in life, so much so that his discovery is in ‘open domain’, which means anyone can use, or develop, the technology if they wish – it’s a move that shows generosity of spirit and a genuine desire to save the world’s oceans from being awash with plastic.