The electricity harvester project was pitched to an interschool competition
In a detached island within Laguna Lake called Talim, there lies the Balibago lakeshore town found in the remote areas. The place is plagued with power interruptions especially during storms, with little to no immediate support from the local electric company.
This problem has been going on for a while. For a town which residents depend on fishing over the lake as the primary source of income, to have a stable, inexpensive means of generating electricity is a great relief.
When a team of engineering students from the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) learned about the situation, they were drawn to develop a device which should solve the shortage, more so the lack, of electricity in Talim.
After a rural immersion in the fishing community of Talim and much brainstorming, the young innovators, collectively known as Team Blade TIP, came up with what they call as iLawa. It is an engineering solution which harvests electricity from a readily accessible resource in the area: lake water.
Designed as a low-cost device, iLawa has two parts: the naked battery and the energy harvester.
The former consists of the aluminum cutout from empty soda cans, activated carbon from used water filters restrained in a net, and copper wires. The latter, which is called the BB, can be any of these three products: battery buoy, battery basket, or battery basin.
The battery buoy serves as a fish-coral marker that should warn boatmen when fishing in the dark. The battery basket, on the other hand, replaces kerosene or rechargeable lamps. And the battery basin provides lighting for households and streets.
“With iLawa, we are able to provide a cheaper and clean alternative source of electricity that increases productivity of fishermen at nighttime and also the security of community,” said TIP engineering student Paul Vincent Nonat to Manila Standard. He is the leader of Team Blade TIP.
The project was pitched to an interschool competition for the best renewable energy idea called the Sikat Design Challenge sponsored by Sikat Solar Challenge Foundation Inc. (SSCFI). It won the top prize, besting nine other finalists and more than 30 participating teams.
Team Blade TIP bagged a P200,000 cash prize from SSCFI and a free trip to Semakau Island, which is Asia’s first micro-grid hybrid facility located in Singapore.
The Sikat Design Challenge is hailed as the first nationwide competition among college students which focuses on providing renewable energy solutions for possible application in rural communities.