Lúc wins sil­ver medal at an in­ter­na­tional olympiad

Bray People - - NEWS -

Coláiste Raithín stu­dent Lúc de Barra won sec­ond place in the world for his study into the use of pine nee­dles in biodiesel.

‘It was amaz­ing to be recog­nised. I was re­ally sur­prised, the qual­ity was amaz­ing,’ said Lúc. ‘It’s been a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence,’ said Lúc, who had a few days to re­lax in The Nether­lands with his fam­ily be­fore com­ing home on Sun­day. The Wick­low Town teenager rep­re­sented Ire­land at the 8th an­nual In­ter­na­tional En­vi­ron­ment and Sus­tain­abil­ity Pro­ject Olympiad (INE­SPO) held in Utrecht last week. Hav­ing won the SEAI spon­sored INE­SPO Award at the SciFest 2015 na­tional fi­nal, Lúc faced tough com­pe­ti­tion from 55 other coun­tries to claim a sil­ver medal award at the INE­SPO in­ter­na­tional fi­nal 2016. SciFest is a se­ries of one-day science fairs, funded pri­mar­ily by Science Foun­da­tion Ire­land, Bos­ton Sci­en­tific and In­tel. Lúc’s pro­ject in­ves­ti­gated whether Pi­nus sylvestris (Scots Pine) nee­dles which he har­vested from sus­tained man­aged forests in his na­tive Wick­low could be used as feed­stock for biodiesel. Oil was ex­tracted by a process of trans­es­ter­i­fi­ca­tion whereby com­pres­sion and steam dis­til­la­tion were used to re­move the oil from the pine nee­dles. Hav­ing demon­strated that pine nee­dles were un­suit­able for biodiesel he went on to show that they had dis­tinct po­ten­tial for other ar­eas of the bioen­ergy sec­tor, par­tic­u­larly in the devel­op­ment of a sus­tain­able avi­a­tion fuel and high per­for­mance fuel ad­di­tives.

Lúc de Barra.

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