A new and clean cooking fuel alternative was introduced by a Balik Scientist of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that looks to replace Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) stoves in homes.
Dr. Fiorello B. Abenes, a Professor Emeritus at CalPoly Pomona University in California, USA, and a Balik Scientist hosted by Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) leads the technology transfer and commercialization of MMSU’s Village-Scale Nipahol Technology (VSNT).
Nipahol Technology may also be used as cooking fuel and is seen to replace LPG stoves.
Nipahol Technology is the innovation produced from extracting sap from Nipa (Nypa fruticans) into “Nipahol” at a facility housed at the National Bioenergy Research and Innovation Center (NBERIC) of the MMSU. Technologies from Nipa are seen to provide a multitude of uses, given its commercial viability in different portions of the value chain.
This innovation was made possible under the Balik Scientist Program which aims to promote information exchange and accelerate the flow of new technology into the country by strengthening the scientific and technological resources of the academe and public and private institutions.
“Dirty cooking is still a problem in many of the rural areas of the Philippines. The use of firewood or charcoal emit unhealthy levels of particulates and noxious gases that affect the respiratory track, mostly affecting women. Ethanol as cooking fuel is cleaner,” says Dr. Abenes.
He added that they have developed a prototype that they hope to scale up and make into a cooking stove suitable for indoor use and in commercial establishments.
Although the stove prototype is yet to be developed as pressurized, Abenes and his team at MMSU successfully created a nipahol-fueled stove with a burner that functions through the pull of gravity.
The successful adoption of MMSU’s VSNT rests on finding more uses for the ethanol produced from nipa. Using Nipahol as cooking fuel will accelerate the commercialization of the VSNT technology.
The enactment of the Balik Scientist Act in June 2018 also paved the way for the DOST to grant returning Filipino scientists with competitive benefits such as daily subsistence allowance, health insurance, and roundtrip airfare.
The program encourages Filipino scientists, technologists, and experts to return to the Philippines and share their expertise to promote scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development, including the development of the country’s human capital in science, technology, and innovation.
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