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Filipino wins James Dyson Award for invention made of waste crops

“Filipinos have a lot of ideas, and I hope we realize that it is possible to turn these ideas into actual solutions. We must encourage the youth to pursue and explore things and to not be discouraged because of failures. There are people who are actually expecting innovations from the Philippines. That’s why we need to keep going.”

Carvey Ehren Maigue, a fifth-year electrical engineering student at Mapua University, became the first-ever Sustainability winner from The James Dyson Award last September 2020. He competed against 1,800 entrees all over the world, with 27 participating countries. The winners received 30,000 euros each, which is equivalent to 1.9 million Philippine pesos.

Maigue’s invention called AuREUS (Aurora Renewable Energy and UV Sequestration) is composed of waste crops that absorb UV rays and convert them into DC (Direct Current) electricity. He explained how his invention works in a video created by Dyson. [“Organic luminescent compounds come from different fruits and vegetables. So what happens is, the high-energy waves convert them into visible light. I use solar panels and solar films to convert visible light into electricity.”]

The Northern Lights was a source of inspiration for the young inventor, and even the name AuREUS is from the word aurora borealis itself. [“It was cloudy and rainy one day, and my glasses- which normally reacts to sunlight, darkened. I thought that even though it was raining and cloudy, there was still ultraviolet light penetrating and hitting us. It's a pity we can't get this energy using conventional solar panels, and that's what my invention wants to solve”,] he said.

Attaining the Sustainability Award was not an easy journey. Maigue had a first attempt back in 2018 where he submitted an entry of a solar window made of synthetic but failed to pass at the national level. Despite the loss, he did not give up and pushed on to improve his design further. In the two years he worked on his invention, the accidental discovery of integrating waste fruits and vegetables into the solar window was put forth.

In a Q&A with the Manila Bulletin, Maigue gave thanks to all of the people that supported him in his work. The laboratory assistants of Mapúa helped him in the testing stage while his mother allowed him to pursue what he wanted. He also mentioned the dean of Mapua University, Alejandro Ballado Jr., his subject teachers, and the people of James Dyson Award.

Maigue plans to use the cash prize to buy equipment in the manufacturing process of AuREUS and to continue his studies in MAPUA. He plans to patent AuREUS and is hoping to complete the prototypes for windows and walls by the first or second quarter of 2021.

The James Dyson Award is a global design award that allows the youth to solve the issues they believe are important through creation of innovative designs.

Carvey Maigue serves as an inspiration, to not only the younger generations but also those of age, to continue striving for what they love to do and what they believe in.

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