UM team to pit invention in global engineering contest

AN ENGINEERING team from the University of Mindanao (UM) is set to compete in the prestigious Hult Prize that will be held in Ecuador to showcase their Pyroclave Solaris machine invention which converts and sterilizes medical waste into agricultural medium.

The Hult Prize is a global competition that seeks to encourage the young people to create ideas “that will help solve the world’s most critical challenges.” It was started in 2009 by Ahmad Ashkar, an MBA student at Hult International Business School who came up with the idea.

Neil Anthony Jamili, a member of the UM team, said their purpose of developing the machine is to sterilize the medical waste which, if not properly disposed of, could cause spread of contagious diseases such as Ebola, H1N1, and Avian Flu among others.

Pyroclave Solaris, which is an improved version of an existing version by RAD Green Solutions, converts and sterilizes 100kg of medical waste to about 20kg of agricultural medium which is already cured and safe.

"Although this might not be considered organic because it is from a synthetic material, it could somehow help with the growing urban farming developments," he said.

An earlier version of the technology is already used in some hospitals in Davao City including Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) and San Pedro Hospital (SPH) among others. However, Jamili said their developed version has less energy consumption. The machine, when converting the medical wastes, will no longer need human interaction because of its conveyor system.

"We have zero carbon emissions. And also, we save water around 4.4 million liters a year. Also, 7.2 million kg of carbon dioxide emission is reduced per year if we use this machine," he said.
Right now, the newer version of the machine is not yet patented but the technology used already is.

On March 15-19, Jamili's team which will be called the SRAD Green Solutions will compete in Ecuador together with another Filipino team from Ateneo de Manila University. SRAD Green Solutions will compete with 47 other teams coming from prestigious universities abroad such as Princeton University, Harvard University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

With Jamili in the team are Prasef Karl Andres Cortes, Renzal Jamad, and Reil Romero. They are also with their adviser engineer Ramiro Emerson Amon.

Other technologies that will be showcased in the competition are water-testing technologies which converts riverwater to potable water.

The winning team will bring home $1 million to fund the development of the technology and start their own company.
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