BTYSTE day 1: Manure bricks and algae oil reactor among green entries

11 Jan 2017

Image: Connor McKenna

From manure bricks to algae oil bioreactors, the first day of BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) 2017 has revealed a green tint to this year’s student showcase.

The first day of BTYSTE is usually a frantic affair, as secondary students from across the country arrive at the RDS in Dublin to display their labours of love.

This year, the event has once more seen the highest number of projects to date, with more than 550 projects on show. Over the course of the exhibition, as many as 50,000 people are expected to come check out the projects in the hope of spotting the one that will take home the grand prize.

The projects on display have been whittled down from a total of 2,091 projects from 375 schools.

1,142 students are taking part this year. Once more, there are more girls than boys: 602 to 540.

Cork has also put in a strong showing, with 125 students attending from the southern county. This is the third year in a row that the county has been the dominant participant in the BTYSTE. It finds itself considerably ahead of the exhibition’s home county of Dublin, which has 84 entries this year.

Ultra Vision

Timothy McGrath from Killorglin Community College, Kerry, with his Ultra Vision glasses for people with vision problems. Image: Connor McKenna

Waste not, want not

With students’ projects now ready for inspection, the team of judges has begun making their way around the venue, particularly focusing today on the social and behavioural sciences category, which has a total of 204 projects.

Following the opening address from President Michael D Higgins, a number of the students spoke to about their projects. It soon became clear that there is a particularly green tint to this year’s event.

Among the entries is a team from Coláiste Mhuire Co-Ed in Thurles, Co Tipperary, that has taken ‘waste not, want not’ to a whole new level, creating a manure eco-brick that is lighter than traditional building materials and weather resistant.

Am I Liked

Leona Lyons and Rachael Horan with their Am I Liked? social media analysis. Not pictured: team member Cian O’Connor. Image: Connor McKenna

Gregory Tarr from Bandon Grammar School in Cork claims his algae oil could be the start of a multibillion-dollar business in the decades to come.

Another record year

“This is a record-breaking year for the BTYSTE, with our highest number of entries to date,” said Shay Walsh, managing director of BT Ireland.

“The quality of the projects on show this year is extraordinary, tackling some of the greatest challenges and opportunities facing society today, from groundbreaking digital tools for people with disabilities to the global migration crisis.”

You can check out the projects from day one below.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic