TWO Donegal Students at the Institute of Technology in Sligo are among a team who have won an Innovative Student Engineering Award.
Winning projects explore transporting critical medical supplies long distances and develop a more efficient way of harvesting willow to use as a renewable energy source
Students Ruairi McGee and Anthony Mannion from Ballyshannon, along with classmates Gary Lyons from Balla and Niall McHale from Ballina in Co. Mayo won first prize in the Engineers Ireland Level 7 Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Awards 2014, sponsored by Siemens.
Titled ‘Willow Harvester Prototype’, the winning group’s entry involved the design, fabrication, testing and analysis of a new and improved prototype device for whole stem willow harvesting.
The project focused on providing a more efficient solution for an existing local willow plantation at Ardtarmon House Hotel in Ballinfull whose current harvesting options are time consuming and costly.
The harvested willow is used on-site to provide domestic hot water and heating for the guest accommodation.
The winning IT Sligo team worked with the Centre for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies (CREST) to introduce an innovative design to existing technologies to provide a more economical harvesting solution to smaller, dispersed, willow growers.
John Power, chartered engineer, director general of Engineers Ireland said, “Engineering is not only at the heart of our day-to-day lives but it is clear to see from the diverse range of projects entered this year that engineers play a vital role in many existing and developing industries in Ireland – from agriculture and automotive to technology and biomedical.
“Of the numerous job announcements over the past 12 months, many of these have been engineering opportunities. There continues to be real career options and demand for engineers of all backgrounds in Ireland. While there is an increase in the number of students opting for engineering at third level we still need more students choosing from the wide variety of engineering courses available to fulfil the employment needs of industry now and in the future.”
He continued, “I wish to congratulate all entrants, in particular the finalists, who are an example of the ingenuity and talent that exists in Ireland today.”