Mapua University electrical engineering student Carvey Ehren Maigue won the prestigious James Dyson Award this year for an invention that harnesses renewable energy from fruits and vegetable waste.
His brainchild, called AuREUS System Technology—Aurora Renewable Energy and UV Sequestration—won the Sustainability Award, beating out 1700 entries from 27 countries, which came with a cash prize of £30,000 (about P2 million) from British tech company, Dyson.
Maigue said that AuREUS was inspired by the science behind the auroras, or polar lights, which are born from an interaction between electrically-charged particles. His technology imitates how particles become charged by high-energy waves from the sun and is turned into visible light. AuREUS uses solar panels and films which then convert this light to electricity.
The material can be used in windows of homes and buildings; they do not need to be facing the sun to absorb energy, but make use of the ultraviolet light present in the atmosphere. It is particularly useful during cloudy and rainy weather, as it can still capture and generate electricity.
This energy can also be derived from fruit and vegetable waste. According to Maigue, fruits and vegetables possess organic luminescent compounds, from which high-energy waves can be harvested and then transformed into visible light.
Photo: Twiiter / Inquirer
“UV light is sequestered, absorbed and converted to clean and renewable energy through particles derived from upcycled fruits and vegetable waste,” Maigue said.
So far, this engineering student has tested his invention with combinations of 78 crops which include tomato, kamias and the bark and root of trees like mahogany, anato, mayana, jackfruit and strawberries. He is currently looking into how chlorophyll, the green pigment in leaves, can be better extracted for this particular purpose. He is hopeful that the technology can be used in the automobile and textile industries.
“I want to create a better form of renewable energy that uses the world’s natural resources, is close to people’s lives, forging achievable paths and rallying towards a sustainable and regenerative future,” he said.
Maigue has been working on submitting his project patents by year’s end and has already been approached by waste management and agriculture companies.