Coláiste Choilm student wins at SciFest

Thursday, 18th April, 2019 2:23pm

Coláiste Choilm student wins at SciFest

Ronan Walsh from Offaly

A Coláiste Choilm student, Ronan Walsh, was awarded the Science Foundation Ireland ‘Best Overall’ award at this year’s SciFest.

He claimed the prize in at Athlone Institute of Technology for his innovative domestic greywater eco-treatment system.

It is designed to give gardeners a viable and sustainable source of irrigation water in times of drought and restrictions.

His project ‘Beat the Drought’ uses reclaimed waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances, for garden irrigation and stems from last summer’s drought and ensuing hosepipe ban.

“Instead of relying on expensive treated and sometimes scarce mains water, you can use recycled greywater for uses that do not require drinking quality of ‘potable’ water such as the irrigation of garden plants,” Ronan Walsh said.

“So, I came up with a way to harvest it instead of disposing of it in our Puraflow system."

Ronan’s experiment was a resounding success and resulted in the development of a fully functioning staged greywater reclamation system complete with electronic data logging and analysis and a web interface.

Climate change was a common theme underpinning many of this year’s entries with many students focussing on topics like biodiversity, pollinator populations, water availability and recycling plastic into bricks to make houses more thermally efficient.

Ronan also won the AirProducts Air and Water Quality award, and will go on to compete in the national final in Dublin in November and, if successful, will go on to represent Ireland at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Anaheim, California in May 2020.

Now in its 12th year, SciFest@Athlone IT has enjoyed considerable success nationally, growing year on year by a considerable margin. This year, more than 400 students from 24 secondary schools across the Midlands competed in the competition, exhibiting their projects and putting their knowledge of STEM to the test.

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