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The Department of Science and Technology is putting up a P4.99 million Green Bio-Hydrogen to Energy Laboratory in Cagayan de Oro to help find sustainable energy solutions in Northern Mindanao. 

Located at the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, the research facility will convert low-value municipal and industrial wastes into energy carriers for distributed power generation. This endeavor aims to create energy-sufficient and independent communities, lessening the nation's dependence on external fuel sources.

The Green BioH2E research team at Xavier Ateneo Cagayan is setting up and keeping an eye on microbial electrolysis setups. The laboratory wants to help local governments and businesses in the area by offering customized end-to-end recycling solutions. This is in line with the larger objective of promoting a circular economy.

 

Under the guidance of University President Fr. Mars P. Tan SJ, and Project Leader Dr. Shierlyn S. Paclijan, Xavier University envisions this facility as a hub for advancing cutting-edge, clean, and non-mass burn technologies derived from municipal and industrial wastes. Additionally, the laboratory will provide tailored end-to-end recycling solutions to local governments and industries in the region, aligning with the broader goal of moving towards a circular economy.

The laboratory's primary objective is to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen-to-energy technologies in converting waste into power and heat generation. This evidence and demonstration-driven approach is expected to facilitate broader adoption of sustainable practices in the region.

DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST PCIEERD) Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit underscored the collaborative efforts to address energy challenges and promote sustainable development in Northern Mindanao. DOST-PCIEERD provided the P4.99 million grant under the Institution Development Program (IDP). 

“As we work together to become a nexus of innovation in the Philippines, we will continue our endeavor to provide support, not only to groundbreaking R&D and introducing innovation but also to make an impact,” Director Paringit said. 

The project serves as a beacon of innovation and progress in the region as it supports Sustainable Development Goal 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy.

Furthermore, the project gained full support and endorsement from the DOST Region 10 (DOST X) and the Northern Mindanao Consortium for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (NorMinCIEERD)

Wednesday, April 17, 2024–A Department of Science and Technology (DOST) - Balik Scientist is developing plant-based, biodegradable packaging from waste materials.

Dr. Noel Peter Tan, a Medium-Term DOST Balik Scientist and head of the Center for Advanced New Materials, Engineering, and Emerging Technologies (CANMEET) in University of San Agustin (USA) in Iloilo, has extensive experience in Applied Chemistry, specifically in the field of nanotechnologies for more than 10 years. He leads CANMEET–the first material science and emerging technologies research center in Western Visayas. The research center houses two laboratories, the Smart Packaging Laboratory, and the Membranes Laboratory.

This project on biodegradable packaging was revealed during Dr. Tan’s Exit Report Presentation held in Iloilo City. Dr. Tan leads the research on Nano-enabled bioplastics from regenerated cellulose aimed at producing an alternative source of biodegradable bioplastic with an improved mechanical property suitable for packaging materials. While traditional plastic is made from petroleum-based raw materials, bioplastics are plastic materials produced from renewable sources.

“Contributions of Balik Scientists, like the work of Dr. Tan enriches the country through innovations geared towards solving national concerns like environmental protection and management,” said DOST Undersecretary for R&D Leah J. Buendia. “As a nanoscience and nanotechnology expert, we are confident that Dr. Tan has successfully led the development of an R&D active environment for the USA, particularly in the fields of nanoscience, nanotechnology, and chemical engineering.”

Dr. Tan also leads The Membrane Technology for Seawater Desalination Program at CANMEET study on improving a passive membrane-distillation system powered by solar energy. This shall develop a more productive desalinator through surface functionalization of its membrane layers.
 
The preliminary data generated in this proposal will have significant impact towards the development of a functional prototype of desalinator for community-based application in the future. Sustainable domestic water generation through seawater desalination is one of the promising alternatives to providing sufficient water access in the country.
 
Department of Science and Technology-Balik Scientist Program has been established as early as 1975 with the goal of strengthening the scientific and technological human resources of both public and private institutions, academe included. The program aims to promote continuous knowledge sharing and accelerate the flow of new technologies amongst our local researchers by seeking support from Filipino experts and professionals to avail the program and return to the Philippines.
Such expertise is seen to address specific STI challenges the country faces.
 
“We are confident that his influence (Dr. Tan) will continue to drive innovation and inspire future scientists. We are honored to have him as part of the Balik Scientist Program and look forward to his future endeavors,” said DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director, Dr. Enrico C. Paringit.
 
Dr. Tan also crafted a new course syllabus, the Methods of Research 101 (MR 101), and new elective courses on Introduction to Nanotechnology, and Plastics Products Manufacture. During his tenure as Balik Scientist at the University of San Agustin, Dr. Tan provided invaluable mentorship to the students and facilitated a comprehensive series of training on nanoscience and nanotechnology.
 
In his one-year term, Dr. Tan's dedication and expertise have already made a considerable impact on enhancing USA's research capabilities while also igniting a passion for STEM among the students.
 

Baguio, City- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) officially handed over a P17 million smart city project to Baguio City to help address environmental concerns tourist spots encounter on April 15, 2024.  

In a ceremony, DOST Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr., DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, and Monitoring of Indicators for Efficient Redevelopment and Value Assessment (MINERVA) project leader Academician Christopher Monterola handed over the outputs of the project to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.  

Project MINERVA aims to help the Baguio City Local Government’s smart city and urban rehabilitation projects by utilizing data science and artificial intelligence.  

With MINERVA, tourism influx and flow and traffic can be modeled.  Air quality and water supply and quality can be monitored and forecast models be provided to city planners and administrators.  

Using the decision support tools, Baguio will be in a better position to create targeted, data-driven programs and policies in key areas that will enhance the standard of living, means of sustenance, social cohesion, and health of its residents. 

Secretary Solidum stressed the difficulties that the nation's metropolitan centers like Baguio City face can be solved through science and technology and boost its potential for growth and development.  “In the heart of a smart and sustainable community are science, technology, and innovation. In recent years, Philippine cities, through the Local Government Units, with the active support of academia, national government agencies, non-government organizations, and industries, have made strides towards technological advancements, sustainability efforts, and overall livability. Project MINERVA represents a significant step forward in enhancing our country’s readiness. The project is also a testament to forging partnerships and collaboration between local government units and national agencies like Baguio City and DOST," he stated.  

Executive Director Paringit reaffirmed DOST's commitment to "smartifying" our communities during his presentation of the Smart Cities Roadmap.  "DOST plans to provide support through the establishment of command data service centers, human resource investments aimed at increasing digital literacy skills, and the creation of embedded or ladderized programs for future cities through 2026,” he said. "This is intended to establish a digitally equipped city utilizing smart technology, with the aid of the smart city roadmap, he added. 

Academician Monterola presented the project's outcomes including aggregating all sensor and tourism data down to the barangay level.  "A prediction model for monthly tourism demand using hotel data, a model that incorporates pedestrian data, and a prediction model for air quality and casualty analysis of air pollution dispersal by meteorological factors have all been established as a result of Project MINERVA," He emphasized.  "Part of the project outputs are the deployment of 500 GPS trackers, 80 Atmotube Pro or Air Quality Sensors (AQS), and six (6) mobile Water Quality Sensors (WQS). These devices have all been game changers as essential conduits for data collection required for the project, he explained. 

Mayor Magalong expressed enthusiasm in receiving Project MINERVA’s outputs which supports the city's objectives for a smart, sustainable, green, and livable city that can handle current and upcoming urban problems and take advantage of digital opportunities to improve urban quality of life.

From left to right: Dr. Nancy Bantog, DOST-CAR Regional Director; Dr. Marissa Liponhay, AIM Project Chief Technical Specialist; Academician Christopher Monterola, MINERVA Project Leader; Hon. Benjamin Magalong, Baguio City Mayor; Ms. Ida Tiongson, Opal Portfolio Investments Inc. President; Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr., DOST Secretary; Dr. Enrico Paringit, DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director; Engr. Ramon N. Santos, DOST-PCIEERD Governing Council Private Sector Representative

 

Baguio City Mayor Magalong and DOST Secretary Solidum during the press conference

Ushering a new year on innovations, the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) will fund 207 research projects in 2024.  

“This year, we are allotting P800 million into these research projects to help in advancing innovation in the Philippines,” DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Enrico Paringit said. These projects mainly focused on DOST’s four pillars, human well-being, wealth creation, wealth protection and sustainability.  

 
 
 
 
 
 

Among DOST's 9 priority areas, most of the budget will be allotted to STI Governance with P570 Million focusing on maximizing the benefits of innovation in both urban and rural areas through the Smart Challenge PH and the development of entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. DOST – PCIEERD will also invest more in industrial solutions and competitiveness development such as ICT Innovations and Artificial Intelligence and in accelerating the manufacturing sectors with P61 Million. 

“Seeing the potential of our startups, on their innovative ideas, we will further assist them by continuously investing in them and our technology business incubators,” said Paringit. Moreover, to better navigate areas where the council can provide support especially in fostering innovation and adapting to the evolving industries, DOST – PCIEERD extends support in shaping effective policies.  

The Council is also providing funding support of about P65 Million to technologies that can address environmental challenges associated with several mining operations and boost mining rehabilitation efforts. 

To increase the impact of R&Ds on the general public, the Council will also support projects on science communication. About P21 Million funds will be utilized in capacitating RSEs and practitioners through various science communication programs including media. This also includes strengthening the SciComm Knowledge Management System to address knowledge gaps between the science community and the Filipinos.  

“This 2024, we are looking forward to how our newly funded projects and endeavors will drive economic growth,” Paringit said as he encouraged researchers to come up with ideas that will provide maximum economic benefit to Filipinos.  

Research projects that will be funded for 2024 are products of the Call for Proposals in 2022 and 2023 and have passed rigorous screening by the Council.

With its capacity to digitally automate legal documents such as contracts, agreements, and credentials, the Supreme Court of the Philippines tapped Twala Inc., a funded startup of the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST – PCIEERD) to digitize notarization in the Philippines.

Twala Inc., a next-generation document management startup company, uses blockchain technology in digitizing records and is the first of its kind in the Philippine market.

With P4.5 million fund from DOST-PCIEERD in 2022, Twala Inc. has made significant improvements in their blockchain technology enhancing the security of its digital ID mobile app for both iOS and Android, making it more reliable.

“Investing in digital technology is investing for the future. Twala streamlines the efficiency and security of managing our documents online” DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Enrico Paringit said. “With Twala, we now have the capability of reducing our carbon footprint while improving the country’s ease of doing business,” he added.

The startup has also developed a new blockchain network which improves digital identity and document security.

Supreme Court’s consultation with Twala Inc. involved discussion on the understanding of global technology standards, best practices, emerging trends like blockchain, cryptography, digital signatures, and artificial intelligence.

The collaboration promises a more efficient and a more secure method of implementing the envisioned electronic notarization by the Supreme Court benefiting both private and public sectors. The regulation for e-notarization is said to be unveiled within the coming year according to Twala’s CEO, Engr. Jeffrey Reyes.

Twala Inc. also established partnership with the Philippine Senate to help them transition from paper-based to online document processes. Senate Secretary Atty. Renato Bantug Jr., and Twala’s CEO Engr. Jeffrey Reyes e-signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last September.

Moreover, Twala Inc. have collaborated with various agencies such as DOST - Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI), DOST - Philippine Science High School (DOST-PSHS), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP), under the DTI, National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO), and the Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP).

Twala Inc. is said to expand its AI capabilities to complement their existing blockchain technology expertise.

“We will intensify outreach efforts, particularly targeting companies within regulated industries such as banking, finance, education, healthcare, insurance, real estate, and government,” said Reyes.