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This Filipino Farmer's Son Invented a Sustainable Sealant Made from Pili Tree Waste

Mark Kennedy Bantugon won the James Dyson Award 2021 in the Philippines.
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The national winners of the James Dyson Award have just been announced.

This year, over 2,000 aspiring inventors from 28 countries and regions submitted entries for the international design award. The annual competition celebrates, encourages, and inspires the next generation of design engineers.

In the Philippines, Mark Kennedy Bantugon won the national award for his invention of Pili Seal. The Philippine State College of Aeronautics student came up with the sustainable, two-component sealant during his internship at an aviation company when he found out that a polysulfide-based sealant was standard in the industry. Though effective, the polysulfide-based can be unsafe and toxic to those who apply it.

Using knowledge from his education, as well as his experiences as a farmer's son, Bantugon landed on utilizing the waste of pili tree AKA spent resin. From there, he worked hard and reached 38 formulations of his sealant before finding the right one. Pili Seal has undergone 20 property tests ranging from physical, chemical, mechanical, thermal, and rheological.

Bantugon hopes to continue studying and maximizing the sealant so that it can be used in other industries such as land & water transportation, constructions, buildings, wood, or in metal sheet roof applications. This, in turn, may lead to Filipino farmers to utilizing resin waste as a way to generate income.

Photo by COURTESY.
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"I was struck by the lack of options to effective and sustainably-produced sealants in the aviation industry and thought there should be a way around. Pili Seal pioneers the study of upcycling waste materials for production of aviation sealant. Through my invention, I hope to inject a new perspective that beneficial and sustainable usage can be found from waste materials. I hope this will inspire greater innovation in global aviation, while empowering the livelihoods of local Filipino farmers through new streams of income," Bantugon said.

Bantugon's invention bested ReConnect, a portable and compact device that restores internet connectivity for use in disaster-stricken areas. The third runner-up was a device that has ability to determine a wound's infections using an electrochemical gas sensor called Non-Invasive Bacteria Detector on Wounds.

The international stage of the 2021 James Dyson Award is scheduled for October 13, 2021.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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