Science and Environment

Team Mapua tops Sikat awards

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – A team of engineering students from the Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) bagged the first 2015 Sikat Design Challenge with a “Rocketstove” innovation that allows a community of Dumagats in the Sierra Madre mountains to boil water for drinking and cook food.

Team Carding composed of Gab Leyson, Alsus Adiaton, John Gaa, Norman Quiniquin and Jeremy de Leon from MIT won a cash prize of P200,000 for topping the 2015 Sikat Design Challenge held by the Sikat Solar Challenge Foundation Inc. (SSCFI).

Runner-up was Team Agilas from the Ateneo de Manila University composed of Gio Obviar, GJ Culala, Erees Macabebe, Marc Macalinao, Paul Lorenzo and Raymark Parochia, all Electronics and Communications Engineering students.

Team Agilas came up with a charcoal briquetting livelihood for two communities in Daraitan in Lower Kilingan in Antipolo City and Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal where they can gather agro-forest debris to manufacture briquettes and also provides them with a Pico mini-hydropower generator for electricity.

Co-runner-up was Team Animo of De La Salle University composed of Bryle Baltazar, Jerry Gonzaga, Jeremy Magdaong, Joshah Chua, Vance Vasquez and Reii Nakano. They came up with an Integrated Modular Micro Hydro Generator and Aquaponics System where a mini hydropower turbine in Sitio Apia in Antipolo City in Rizal provides 300 families with electricity, enabling them to engage in vegetable and fish production livelihood.

The two runners-up received P150,000 each.

Aside from the prize money, Team Carding also won a trip to the hybrid solar and wind farm of the Energy Development Corp. in Ilocos Norte. Located in Burgos town, EDC’s wind farm is the largest in the country with a 150-megawatt installed capacity.

Leyson, Team Carding leader, said the concept for Rocketstove, also known as Bathala stove, merges  the traditional way of cooking with modern technology to address the need of the Dumagat community in Norzagaray, Bulacan for a more efficient way to cook with less smoke because many Dumagats suffer from tuberculosis and other respiratory ailments.

“Based on the concerns of the community, they would like to be provided with clean water, electricity and reduce the number of Dumagats that have TB,” Leyson said.

Leyson pointed out that with the Rocketstove, Dumagats can also engage in livelihood since they can manufacture potato chips, kamotecue and bananacue that they can sell in the community and neighboring villages.

The 2015 Sikat Design Challenge is the first competition for engineering students in colleges and universities where they are challenged to come up with the best renewable energy idea solutions to power far-flung communities in mountain areas or islands all over the country.

The 2015 contest drew 65 college student-participants from 13 schools – eight of them from Luzon and five from the Visayas.

Art de Guia, president of SSCFI which developed the solar car that saw action in the biennial World Solar Challenge race in Australia, said the foundation decided to shift to the design challenge to promote the development of renewable energy and solve the problems in poor communities with no access to electricity, livelihood and potable water.

SSCFI was the group that organized support for “Sikat,” the country's solar-powered racing car entered in the WSC in Australia in 2007, 2009 and 2013.

SSCFI, a non-stock, non-profit organization, said that the 2015 Sikat Design Challenge is the first of a regular annual competition.

The SSCFI is again being supported in their shift to RE solutions for communities by First Gen Corp., along with subsidiary Energy Development Corp. (EDC), and parent company First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPH), the power business holding firm of the Lopez Group, their previous corporate supporters.

Henry Co, SSCFI vice president, noted that the design challenge benefited the country more than the WSC, which entailed huge funds and already showcased the world-class capability of the Filipino in solar energy technology development.

“SSCFI launched the competition as it focuses its attention on how RE solutions can uplift lives in rural communities, especially those living without electricity,” Co said.


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