Awards for St. Mary’s Mallow students at BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition

Students from St. Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow have been awarded prizes at this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Shauna Murphy and Caoimhe Cronin, transition year, won 2nd place in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences Intermediate Group category.

The title of their project was, ‘Uptake, accumulation and transfer of Alpha Radioactivity by five common food crops grown in selected Cork soils, some amended with Phosphate Fertiliser; impact for human health.’

Their main aim was to measure alpha radiation in the plants and soil in Mallow and to calculate if there was any risk to the human population.

Emily Murphy, first year, won third place in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences Junior Individual category. The title of her project was, ‘Assessment and evaluation of the production and combustion of fuel pellets made from waste coffee grounds; Impact on waste minimisation in Ireland?’

Emily’s project focused on converting soggy coffee grounds into a fuel source. She sourced coffee grounds from three companies, Costa, Bewley’s, and from Frank and Honest.

Emily found that Costa produced coffee grounds were the easiest to convert into fuel pellets as they were the most suitable for air drying. Costa coffee grounds contained only 10 per cent water. Bewley’s contained 22 per cent water.

Frank and Honest coffee grounds contained 16 per cent water. Emily’s coffee ground pellets give off 10 per cent more heat than timber pellets.

Shauna, Caoimhe and Emily received excellent advice and encouragement from their school mentors, Martin Timmons and Rory Coote.