Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

May 15, 2014 16:04 ET

Saanich students win Manning Innovation Achievement Award at 2014 Canada Wide Science Fair

WINDSOR, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 15, 2014) - A successful Science Fair effort to develop a reusable and fully biodegradable oil adsorption pad has earned a team from Victoria, BC a $500 cash prize as one of eight Manning Innovation Achievement Award winners at the 53rd annual Canada Wide Science Fair held this week at the University of Windsor.

Vicki Kleu, 18, and Austin Sawyer, 17, from Lambrick Park Secondary School, also won the Senor Excellence Bronze Medal and their choice of an entrance scholarship to one of two Canadian universities.

"An inexpensive adsorbent boom was built, and that picks up over 32 ml. of motor oil per gram of fibre. Approximately 90 per cent of the adsorbed oil can be recovered and residual oil can be washed out using canola," they explained. "Heat of combustion tests were done on soil near the burned fibre showed that the oil did not migrate with water movement in typical watering conditions."

The team wanted to find an inexpensive alternative to the expensive booms that are currently being used to enclose oil spills. Kleu and Sawyer took it a step further than just containment, they also devised a material that would absorb and retain the spilled oil. They came up with a design that would not only allow the oil to be absorbed, but would not allow the boom to sink from the weight. Their solution was treating cotton (low absorption and retention rates) with peroxidase. This new material was able to retain up to 32 times more oil and would be able to retain the oil that was absorbed for long periods of time without risk of oil leaking back into the water.

The project, under patent development, has the potential to clean up and maintain marine oil spills in Canadian harbors.

This year the Canada Wide Science Fair brought together 463 young scientists in grades 7-12 to compete for close to $1 million in cash, prizes and scholarships and to showcase bright minds that are innovating for Canada.

"Canada's economic and social future depends on the proper investment and mentorship of young innovators who are emerging visionaries and change agents. The encouragement of organizations like Youth Science Canada and the Ernest C. Manning Innovation Awards Foundation is a fundamental commitment to the realization of the economic and social opportunities that innovative minds create for Canada, and indeed globally, starting with our youngest innovators. We are pleased to be recognizing and fostering that mindset among Canadian youth," said Jennifer Diakiw, president, Ernest C. Manning Innovation Awards Foundation.

The Ernest C. Manning Innovation Awards Foundation introduced its Young Canadian Program in 1992 to recognize innovative Canada-Wide Science Fair projects. Each year a judging team selects eight winning projects, four of which earn the $4,500 Manning Young Canadian Innovator Awards, and four others earn $500 Manning Innovation Achievement Awards. For more information about the Foundation and its awards visit Follow on Twitter @ManningAwardsCA. Like on Facebook/Manning Awards.

Contact Information

  • Media contacts and photos:
    Rosemarie Enslin, Enslin Group,
    Public relations for Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation
    403-630-8421 or (Toll free) 1 866 545 6206

    Youth Science Canada
    Brad McCabe
    Executive Director
    (Toll free) 1 866-341-0040