UP Diliman student wins 2014 BPI-DOST Best Project of the Year Award

MANILA, March 7 (PNA) — A research that seeks to utilize cables as pathway for a renewable source of energy has bagged the Best Project of the Year in the 2014 Bank of the Philippine Islands-Department of Science and Technology (BPI-DOST) Science Awards held at the Mind Museum at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig Thursday.

The project was developed by Alexander John Cruz, a Bachelor of Science (BS) Chemical Engineering student of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, who received a cash reward of P 50,000, a scholarship grant from the Department of Science and Technology –Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) and a trophy.

The research aims to convert solar light to hydrogen fuel through water splitting by using optical fiber cables. These cables are used to transmit sunlight which serves as an electric current to induce chemical reaction that decomposes water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The innovation supports the utilization of plasma-treated cables as a precedent in developing large-scale solar hydrogen power plants and portable energy generators for remote regions.

Jessa Maria Makabenta, a BS Chemistry student from UP Los Banos, won the first runner-up for her project on sodium caseinate encapsulation of coconut oil-extracted astaxanthin from shrimp wastes to enhance its stability and control its release mechanism.

Astaxanthin, which causes the orange color on shrimps, may be used as a food supplement.

“Astaxanthin can also effectively treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s because of its potent antioxidant activity”, Makabenta said in an interview.

BS Computer Science student Kevin Colina of the University of San Carlos won second runner-up for developing an electronic storybook creator with Cebuano natural language processing-based animation for kindergarten educators.

The runners-up received a cash prize of P 30,000 and P 10,000, respectively and a trophy each.

The Science Awards aims to encourage budding scientists and researchers to pursue excellence in the fields of mathematics, physics, engineering, chemistry, biology and computer science.

Over 600 awardees have been recognized for their achievements since its establishment in 1989.

“The awards empower young minds to contribute to industry and nation-building. More so, the Best Project of the Year Award motivates our students to conduct researches that are responsive to needs of the people and the country as a whole,” according to DOST Secretary Mario Montejo.

Each year, awards are given to the top three senior students of 10 partner universities namely Ateneo de Davao University, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Silliman University, Saint Louis University, University of the Philippines, University of San Carlos, University of Santo Tomas and Xavier University.

The awardees are selected on the basis of their academic performance and must be nominated by their school. (PNA)