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This Overstaying College Student Just Won a Global Science Award

He started university ten years ago.  
IMAGE Dyson
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Carvey Ehren Maigue, a student from Mapua University, has been named the first-ever Global Sustainability Winner at the James Dyson Award.

His invention? A new material made from rotten fruit and vegetables that converts UV light into electricity, and can be used for window panels, as well as walls.

Maigue was handpicked by founder James Dyson himself.

“As a farmer, I have always been concerned about covering fertile, food-producing, agricultural land in photovoltaic cells. Carvey’s invention demonstrates a convincing way to create clean energy on existing structures, like windows, within cities,” said Dyson.

What particularly won Dyson over was Maigue’s persistence.

“AuREUS is impressive in the way it makes sustainable use of waste crops, but I’m particularly impressed by Carvey’s resolve and determination,” said Dyson. “Having failed to make the national stage of the Award in 2018, he stuck at it and further developed his idea— this will be a very important character trait as he embarks on the long road to commercialization.”

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Maigue calls the award, “one of the greatest achievements I’ve made.”

The son of a single mother, Maigue says he didn’t want to burden her with having to worry about his education.

“I told her I’ll find ways to put myself through school,” he said. To pay for his tuition fees at Mapua University, he takes on protyping projects and other jobs, and “sometimes I come close to the target amount of money, sometimes I don’t.”

He’s now 27 years old, and about two semesters away from graduating, which likely will now happen soon. The Dyson Sustainability Award comes with a cash award of 30,000 pounds, or P1.9 million.

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Maigue's invention was among 1,800 entries from young inventors and design engineers from 27 countries around the world. 

His AuREUS system makes use of crop waste that absorbs stray UV light from the sun and converts it to electricity.

The system is used for windows and walls for buildings. AuREUS devices use the same technology derived from the phenomena that creates the Northern lights. High energy particles are absorbed by luminescent particles that re-remit them as visible light.

Similar types of particles derived from fruit and vegetables are suspended in a resin substrate. When hit by sunlight, the particles absorb and emit visible light along the edges. When this light is captured, it can be converted to electricity.

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The criteria for the compeitition was straightforward: Design something that solves a problem. 

Maigue definitely did.

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Yvette Fernandez
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