(Makati City, 22 February 2013) – Philippine Science High School (PSHS) students topped the Project Tuklas science contest sponsored by Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (Shell) in coordination with the Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) and AIESEC Philippines.

“It’s something very innovative,” said Julia Alexander Chu, president of Project Tuklas organizer AIESEC University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, referring to the project of PSHS juniors Creo Baylon, Miguel Ortega and Otto Lorenzo Uylangco. "It could probably power cities or towns.”

The winning project, “Determination of the Most Efficient Generator of Harvesting Energy from Human Walking Motion,” captured electricity generated from walking. It bested projects from 11 other teams of third year students from different public high schools in Metro Manila. The prototype, consisting of strips of metal wired together, is placed under the insole of shoes. Foot pressure from walking then activates the device. Small amounts of electricity generated from the walking motion can power a small light, motor or transmitter.

“The PSHS team created and submitted the best example of innovation in energy, one of the criteria of the contest aimed at encouraging public high school students to pursue college degrees and careers in science and technology,” said Gerrard Ortega, Vice-President and General Manager for human resources of Shell.

“Their experiment itself may not be the ‘Future of Energy,’ but it’s a starting point. They’re already starting to think out of the box,” said Ortega, who awarded the P75,000 cash prize from Shell to the three boys during awarding ceremonies held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City last February 16.

Project Tuklas’ theme was “Future of Energy” and participating teams were asked to submit entries that would best showcase it.

Placing second and winning P50,000 in cash prize was the Lagro High School (LHS) team composed of Adrie Domingo, Angelica Mhae Gregorio and Shanne Pampola. Their project was on the extraction of bio-ethanol from durian peelings.

At third place and taking home P25,000 in cash prize was the second PSHS team composed of Jose Lorenzo Baquiran, Anselmo Jose Ledesma and Jana Mariel Quismundo. Their project was on the use of colloidal mixtures to improve the light-gathering efficiency of solar panels.

Shell also awarded the same cash prizes to PSHS and LHS to fund the schools’ respective teachers’ development programs.

Baylon, 16, attributed their win to team work. Ortega, 17, said they will use the cash prize to improve their project while Uylangco, 15, said he plans to pursue mechanical engineering in college. PhilDev is giving engineering scholarships to all 48 students of the teams which made it to the finals.

Brazilian Mateus Damiao, an AIESEC trainee assigned to mentor the champion team, said, “The students really worked hard towards the objective of proving what is the best setup in generating energy from the human walking motion.”

Three teams were given special awards based on the votes of AIESEC and Shell officials as well as the foreign coaches for the teams. The LHS team won the Shell Sustainability Award while the champion team won the Most Resourceful Program Award. Gen. Pio del Pilar National High School won the People’s Choice Award for its project on producing and using piezo-electricity in populous areas.

A total 24 public high schools in Metro Manila participated in Project Tuklas when AIESEC launched it in August last year. Each school had two teams that submitted science projects in line with the contest’s theme. Thirty-two teams from 18 schools qualified for the preliminary round in November while 12 teams from 10 schools reached the final round in December. Most of the semifinalists and finalists submitted concepts and prototypes on bio-fuel production from plants.

Six judges selected the finalists and top three teams. They were Dr. Rogelio Panlasigui, Dean of the College of Engineering of FEATI University; Engr. Marcial Ocampo, an energy technology and climate change expert; Dr. Evangeline Amor, Associate Professor and Secretary of the College of Science – UP Diliman; Dr. Irene Villaseñor of the UP Diliman Institute of Chemistry and National Research Council of the Philippines; Catherine Ramos, Assistant Professor at the Ateneo de Manila University’s School of Science and Engineering; and Rodolfo Biescas, inventor and president of the Filipino Inventors Society Inc.

Meanwhile, Chu announced the next edition of Project Tuklas this summer will be nationwide in scope to discover more potential scientists and engineers. The format will be different in that the contest will be held during the summer break and that fourth year students from the top 50 public high schools in the country, which are mostly from the Visayas and Mindanao, will be invited to participate.

“We want to open the opportunity to everyone,” Chu said. “We need young people who are equipped to face the future, young people who are still full of vigor, unleashed potential and who can adapt to the uncertainties of tomorrow and innovate their way to success.”

Ortega said Shell plans to recruit and hire Project Tuklas scholars after they graduate to work in the growing energy sector in the Philippines.

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