High school students discover new sources of energy

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 12:49 AM    Views : 1838by:PhilStar

MANILA, Philippines - Public high school students may hold the key to discovering new sources of renewable energy for the country and the world.

Students participating in Project Tuklas, an ongoing Shell-sponsored contest on innovative energy with engineering scholarships as prize, have come up with science projects on biofuels sourced from the country's rich natural resources.

"Most of the projects utilize common, local resources found here in the Philippines. Any of these projects may very well be the actual future of energy, at least for the Philippines," says Ana Olivas, AIESEC Organizing Committee vice president for public relations of Project Tuklas. AIESEC is an international student organization which is handling the contest.

Teams of winning projects in the preliminary round of the contest were announced last Dec. 8 and 15 at the GT Toyota Auditorium in UP Diliman, Quezon City. Members of the chosen teams will have a chance to get engineering scholarships from the Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) with funds donated by sponsor Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.

Thirty-two teams composed of nearly 200 third year high school students from 18 public high schools in Metro Manila are exploring if biofuels can be sourced from algae, bacteria, and plastics; biodiesel from fruit and nut seeds; bio-ethanol from fruit peelings and aratilis seeds; and alcohol from water lily and bacteria. They also have ideas on producing solar cells using peanut husks.

Although biofuels or fuel derived from biological organisms is already being used in other countries as a cleaner alternative to conventional fuel for transportation and power generation, it is yet to be mass-produced to run vehicles and power plants all over the Philippines.

The Philippines, as in other countries, is seeking cleaner and smarter energy to run the economy with less cost and adverse impact to the environment. The students, through their projects that are in line with the contest theme "Future of Energy," hope to contribute to finding the best energy solution. But they will also directly benefit from the contest by getting a shot at becoming future engineers.

Most Project Tuklas contestants have projects geared towards producing biodiesel or fuel derived from vegetable oils and animal fats. The team from Balara High School will try to produce it from the seeds of the bani tree. The bani seed oil, like the tree's leaves, is used as medicine and for making soap and candle. Bani trees grow in abundance along seashores and beside lakes.

A team of foreign mentors from AIESEC will guide the student teams in conducting their projects so they can produce a prototype and present their process to a panel of judges.


S & T Trivia

" Felix D. Maramba Sr. invented the power generator fed by charcoal and coconut oil. "

Online Resources
© copyright 2012 All rights reserved.