By Jameela Antoniette I. Mendoza
and John Rey L. Villareal
STUDENTS FROM THE College of Engineering and Design pitched their entry in the Sikat Design Challenge of the Sikat Solar Challenge Foundation, Inc., the country’s first inter-university competition on renewable energy solutions, last Feb. 3 at the Manansala Tower, Makati City.
Out of 12 universities from Luzon and Visayas, the Silliman University (SU) Sikat team made it to the Top 6 finalists.
The team was composed of three fifth year mechanical engineering students: Manuel Sayson III, Josue Santos, and Dean Alvin Macasilhig; one fifth year electrical engineering student: Frederick Cas and one computer engineering student: Marc Cabilan.
The team adviser is Engr. George Bernard Carlos and his assistant adviser is Engr. Johnson Diputado.
“We [proposed] to make a project about renewable energy to help uplift lives in rural areas,” said Manuel Sayson III.
The SU Sikat team proposed the “SOLAREF” project, a solar-powered, absorption type refrigerator that uses the heat of the sun to “produce a cooling effect.”
Sayson explained that in the project design, there will be a solar collector aimed at the sun which will then heat up when it collects enough sunlight. The solar collector will be heated until the refrigerator inside would be vaporized towards the evaporator, which is the cooling box.
“From the cooling box, it will expand, which will cool the surrounding then go back to the collector,” said Sayson.
Sayson said that he and his teammates looked for a community in a rural area with a problem so that they can provide a solution using renewable energy.
“Our community is the GK 2, Gawad Kalinga Two, Bajumpandan, which is a housing project by the Gawad Kalinga to provide houses for those who can’t afford [a] house,” Sayson said.
According to Sayson, they went to their chosen community and interviewed around 20 families. They found out that most of their interviewees cannot afford refrigerators or if they had refrigerators, they would often unplug them because they cannot afford to pay electricity bills.
Five universities from Visayas joined the competition: SU, Foundation University, Negros Oriental State University, St. Paul University Dumaguete, and University of San Carlos.
The team from Mapúa Institute of Technology won the grand prize, while the teams from Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University-Manila were awarded as runner-ups.
The Sikat Solar Challenge Foundation, Inc. is a duly-registered and accredited science foundation by the Department of Science and Technology. It is dedicated to “promote and develop renewable energy in the country.”~