Mapúa students bag grand prize in the 2015 Sikat Design Challenge

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Team Carding of the Mapúa Institute of Technology composed of EECE students Jeremy C. De Leon, Norman David M. Quiniquini, Gabrielle B. Leyson, and ME student Alsus Don R. Adiaton receive the grand prize from Sikat Solar executives for winning the 2015 Sikat Design Challege by designing a rocketstove that simultaneously cooks food, generates electricity, and distills drinking water.

A group of engineering students from Mapúa Institute of Technology took home the grand prize in the 2015 Sikat Design Challenge, the country’s first inter-university competition focused on renewable energy solutions targeted at the rural sector.

Aptly named Team Carding to represent the Cardinals—in a Filipino way—School of Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Engineering (EECE) students Jeremy C. De Leon, Norman David M. Quiniquini, Gabrielle B. Leyson, and Manufacturing Engineering student from the School of Mechanical Engineering (ME) Alsus Don R. Adiaton teamed up in designing Project Bathala, a Rocketstove that simultaneously cooks food using less fuel, generates electricity for charging electronic devices, and distills safe drinking water for the Dumagat community living in the mountains of Sierra Madre in Norzagaray, Bulacan.

Proud of being able to represent Mapúa in the competition, the team said that their ultimate motivation for the project was their passion to innovate and to inspire other people to have a better life.

“Winning the competition, getting the cash prize, commercializing your product, and having a company are just few of the things that will motivate you. But the real cause of what we are doing is to inspire others that even small changes can help to improve one’s life,” said Quiniquini. He and De Leon were teammates for the Shell360 Ideas: Galing ng Pinoy Challenge last year. De Leon recruited Adiaton and Leyson, after Quiniquini learned about the competition from the EECE Student Council.

Team’s difficulties

The team worked on their pitch for months, engaging and immersing themselves in the Dumagat community and developing and testing their design. However, not everything was smooth sailing for Team Carding.

“Thinking of an idea or an innovation is the easy part, it becomes hard when you think of how you will sell the idea to the market,” Adiaton said. Like any innovation, the project needs to have a business plan. “Simplification of several complex solutions into one design is challenging.”

Time constraints, as Mapúa is employing the Quarter system, were also a problem for the team.

“Being a student, it’s hard to have free time given all the academic works that need attention,” Leyson shared.

Despite these difficulties, the team pitched their idea “Hitting Three Birds with One Stove” on February 2.

“We all felt proud,” De Leon said of their winning moment. Leyson and Quiniquini echoed their team leader’s sentiment adding that it was a delightful moment for them giving pride and glory to the Institute with their innovation.

For Adiaton, he is thankful that all their efforts paid off in the end.

“We are passionate and positive in doing this. I am glad that I have acquired skills from the different people, teams, and organizations that I met in Mapúa,” he said.

What’s next for Bathala?

Team Carding acknowledges that innovation does not stop after winning the Sikat Design Challenge. According to De Leon, they are continuously improving project Bathala in all its aspects.

“Right now, we are on the design and development stage. Afterwards, we aim for commercialization of the product,” he said.

The team is improving the overall design of the product.

“The challenge for us is to maximize all the output of Bathala for efficiency and effectiveness,” De Leon said.

Project Bathala, the team said, is not limited to rural areas only.

“We are thinking of Bathala as an emergency response unit or an SOS device during calamities and disasters,” Quiniquini said adding that using the stove during a disaster is “hitting four birds with one stove” as you can generate electricity, cook food, and distill water for drinking despite the seeming lack of resources in disaster-prone urban communities.

Sikat Solar Challenge Foundation Inc., the brain behind the Sikat Design Challenge, is helping Team Carding connect with the right people and potential investors for Bathala. The team is also doing exploratory discussions with the government, De Leon stated.

The young team of innovators believes that the youth can do so much with the right amount of motivation, perseverance, and creativity. With their success in bagging the award for the Sikat Design Challenge, Team Carding hopes to inspire others.

“Innovation is performing more with less,” said De Leon. “The youth has a lot of inherited possibilities and we must be able to perform much of them in a single time.”

De Leon further stated that their success in the competition is not the end of Project Bathala. “This is just the start,” he concluded.