Clean technology finalist
Russell High School student Eric Fillion is one of only 30 semi-finalists worldwide in the Clean Tech Competition technology contest. A total of 270 students from 26 different countries entered.       Courtesy photo

RUSSELL – Russell High School student Eric Fillion is one of 30 semi-finalists worldwide in a prestigious research and design competition for youth, the Upper Canada District School Board has announced. Fillion recently advanced as a semi-finalist in the Clean Tech Competition, a technology contest designed to encourage and create solutions to environmental problems related to homes.

The competition’s goal is to foster a deeper understanding of science, technology, engineering and math-related concepts, to recognize outstanding talent, and prepare the next generation of globally competitive innovators. A total of 270 students from 26 different countries entered this year’s competition.

Fillion earned this recognition for developing a device called a Phantom Relay, which eliminates phantom energy consumption by computer systems and other electrical appliances. Phantom energy is consumed by electrical appliances while they are turned off. Studies suggest that a standard personal computer setup can consume up to 13 watts per hour when turned off, and that consumers across North America spend billions each year due to phantom energy consumption. The Grade 12 student, who has been accepted into the Queen’s University computer engineering program, developed a device that uses a force sensor, an Arduino computer board and a solid state relay to safely eliminate phantom energy consumption. With the number of PCs worldwide, Fillion believes his invention has the potential to drastically cut energy waste.

“It felt really good,” said Fillion of making the semi-finals. “It really made me realize I made the right decision to go into computer engineering.”

With an interest in environmentalism as well as computer engineering, Fillion hopes to one day work in the automotive or solar energy fields.