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With The Wind: Woven Wind Turbines

Members : K. Cruz, Gascon, Mendoza, Orosa, J. Que, Quitangon, Sale

The world’s population is constantly consuming non-renewable energy that is destroying the Earth. Non-renewable energy which is the main source of power of the people’s daily use of technology, is slowly getting consumed to its last few sources. Renewable energy was introduced to remedy the current problem; renewable energy makes use of natural renewable sources like, the sun, water and wind and these sources will not run out and will remain constant on earth. A good example of a Renewable energy is the “Wind Turbines” where wind mills harness the power of the wind and transform it into energy for homes. “Wind Turbines” have been innovated to suit the needs for sustainable development of developing countries.

The Technology

“Wind turbines are used to generate electricity from the kinetic power of the wind” (“Wind Turbines”). At first, they were used for more practical purposes as a mechanical device to operate certain machineries but in the past decade, it has evolved to be utilized for energy production. In its current iterations, there are two main kinds of modern wind turbines. These are the Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT) and the Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT), both of which, although fundamentally the same, operate differently. This technology is used to produce large amounts of electricity in wind farms both onshore and offshore, but the same concept has been applied for small-scale enterprises such as households as a renewable energy solution. Such enterprise is the Women Wind Weavers of Guatemala who create small wind turbines woven from traditional and high-strength fabric.

        The potential of wind power has also given a unique opportunity to the impoverished weavers of Guatemala. Using new technologies developed by ATC and the University of Michigan’s BLUElab, the various artisans within Guatemala have been given the chance to improve their quality of life and occupation by developing new wind-based energy generators using common textile weaving techniques. This is to be done by combining the technologies developed and provided by BLUElab with the weaving techniques of the artisans to produce textile-woven wind turbine blades that are to be efficient as the more conventional turbines being employed today. The generators to be produced are intended to provide clean energy for the impoverished families near to those who produce them, and the weaving process is to also provide a stable occupational monetary source for those involved for the weavers to earn their living in a more efficient manner as well. So far, the technologies are still in the development phase, as the structural and functioning frameworks for the most efficient turbine and generator designs have yet to be developed as the demands for the generators are to be easily maintainable and cheap to produce for the poor families. However, through public funding, education and perseverance, this project hopes to fulfill its ambitious goals to become a driving force by providing clean energy and occupations for those in need.

How It Works

In its large-scale iterations the two kinds of wind turbines have different characteristics that distinguish them apart as illustrated below:


The most well known form is the horizontal wind turbines which is the basic framework used for the woven wind turbines. This turbine uses high-strength natural fibers to create fabrics that can be sustained for long term efficiency. The basic structure of how exactly it can be applied for home is shown in the illustration below. First, the wind turbine will be attached to the roof for maximum coverage. It will be connected to a charger or controller to power it, a battery bank to store excess energy, and an inverter to transport energy to the house electrical.

Thoughts and Insights


Modern societies have become highly reliant on energy especially in businesses, industries and residences. With the uncontrollably increase in population, particularly in the cities this lead to an increase in consumption as well. It creates a significant pressure on infrastructure, housing, facilities, social services and utilities and as a result, many are experiencing shortages of electricity, natural gas, gasoline, kerosene and biomass.

In places where wind is very much available, a wind turbine might be the most economical and environmental-friendly way to generate power. The only wind power source in the Philippines is located on the foreshore of Bangui Bay in Ilocos Norte. So far, the Bangui wind farm helps alleviating power crisis by supplying 40% of the electrical energy in the region. In addition, Ilocos residents enjoy discounted power rates since the project will sell its electricity at a rate of 7% lower than the rate of National Power Corporation(NPC), and wind power is also not subject to the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT).

The use of wind turbines can be a great way to provide a source of clean and renewable energy for your home or business. There are a number of small wind energy devices that you can use to generate power and these can be very cost effective in providing a significant level of electricity. If you’re concerned about the environment and would like to make a difference then the use of a home wind turbine is a good place to start. Plus one must not worry for it is bird-friendly.

There are a lot of advantages using Wind energy. It does not produce any carbon dioxide; it is a clean fuel with no harmful by-products. It also makes a country more self-sufficient, less reliant on energy imports and less vulnerable to security threats. Renewable energy sources add diversity to energy supplies, providing a more dependable energy resource.

To find the solution, one must recognize the problem first. The first is unpredictable supply: the country’s economy has been faced with high and often unstable prices for energy, particularly for oil and gas, combined with supply disruptions caused by political instability.. The second reason is the rising demand: rapid industrialization and impressive economic growth are increasing the use of oil. This leads to increase living standards in which energy shortages could be met by increasing supplies. But there are two other important considerations: environmental sustainability and social development. The current pattern of economic growth has caused serious environmental damage such as polluting the air, creating large quantities of waste, degrading biological systems and accelerating climate change. Almost everything comes from the effect of energy sector. At the same time, it is also necessary to consider the impact on social development. The lack of access to energy services intensifies many social concerns, including poverty, ill‑health, unemployment and inequity.

It is not a secret that almost every individual still depends on inefficient and highly polluting solid fuels for their everyday household energy needs, in particular coal and biomass such as wood, animal dung, and crop wastes. The growth in energy use has serious environmental implications. Apart from depleting energy resources it can cause environmental damage, such as greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions, air pollution, acid rain, loss of biodiversity and discharges of waste. That’s why we suggest that the government and renewable gas companies should focus on developing wind power in our country, for the potential is already there all it needs is a little assistance and aid to become beneficial. “Any kind of ecological friendly produced electricity is an essential contribution to the protection of our environment and nature for forthcoming generations and it will stabilize or lower electricity prices (Mueller).”



N/A. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Layton, J. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Energy and sustainable development. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Manibo, M. (2014, January 13). Hydro, wind power booms in philippines in 2014. Retrieved from Lewis, P. (n.d.). Capabilities and future directions for wind energy. Retrieved from

Empower guatemalan women with woven windmills. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Women wind weavers of guatemala. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Harder, Better, Filter, Strawnger

Harder, Better, Filter, Strawnger

By: Ablaza, Lopez, Ng, Tan, Tejada, Teng, and Zarza (SCI 10 M)


Children with the personal version of the LifeStraw

It is difficult to believe that a country surrounded by water and abundant in marine resources is be prone to the threat of a water crisis. However, according to the Asian Development Bank’s Water Development Outlook report for 2013, the Philippines may experience a water crisis in the near future, if preventive measures are not taken soon (Ordinario, 2013). One of the components of the National Water Security Index used in the study is the resilience to water disasters (Ordinario, 2013). This factor plays a big role in evaluating the Philippine scenario because the Philippines is very prone to water-related disasters especially typhoons. The aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda shows that it is indeed possible for the lack of potable drinking water due to shortage and water contamination to be a rampant problem in affected areas. Though not highly publicized, one of the donations sent to aid the victims of Typhoon Yolanda was the LifeStraw, a special water filter that converts contaminated water into potable drinking water (Nicolasora, 2013).

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ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD: Information for the next generation

The need for constant access to information is increasing, if not a requirement, in the modern world. It cannot be denied that for the most part, Internet connection is very essential for everyone if s/he wants to avail of the billions of information available online. As such, computers, or laptops for the modern day, are becoming a need for those who wish to be connected to the streams of information available.

The One Laptop Per Child program, the brainchild of faculty members at the MIT Media Lab, dreams of giving every student one laptop to help them in their pursuit of knowledge. The Delaware-based project laptop, costing $100 each (approx. Php4,500), aims to provide children all over the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves.

Laptop Specs

Manufactured by Quanta Computers, the “$100 laptop” features a 700MHz AMD LX-Geode processor and 256 MB of Random Access Memory. This is enough for research tasks, word processing, and other educational computer work. In November 2007, the first large-scale release started, with the laptop running Fedora Core as its operating system and open-source software. Additional features are:

  • Dual mode display, SVGA LCD screen

  • Transmissive Color/DVD mode with 350×470 pixel resolution with backlighting (for laptop use)

  • Reflective “sunlight readable” monochrome mode with 800×600 pixel resolution (for ebook reading outdoors)

  • Minimal and practical software

In promoting the laptops, the manufacturers market them directly to ministers of education in order to directly distribute to their target recipients.

Figure 1. $100 Laptop (<>)



OLPC focuses on fundraising efforts like launching websites and programs that help in promoting to the masses. Websites like Pentagram and Upstatement update customers with news about the project (OLPC Frequently Asked Questions).

Another initiative for sustainable development is the launch of the “Give 1 Get 1” (G1G1) program in 2007. It later established the website that accepts direct donations. The G1G1 offer started on November 12, 2007 and successfully extended until December 31, 2007. A second wave of the G1G1 program was launched the next year.

In terms of the OLPC’s environmental, the project aims to use eco-friendly materials as much as it could. The laptop and all OLPC-supplied accessories are fully compliant with the EU’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS).


The low-cost, environmentally-friendly laptops are fit for harsh weather conditions and rowdy environments. Made even for students in areas with no electricity, some versions of the $100 Laptop have cranks that allow its operation independent of a power source.

Every time they donate laptops to communities, OLPC ensures that all students are accounted for. No one is left out, allowing for the laptops’ standardized integration in the school curriculum and discouraging envy among the students.


Seeing that OLPC is succeeding in making the public participate in the global enhancement of education, our group believes that the project will find its way in the ventures of other organizations and companies as well. More people will support this cause and as technology heightens, so will the capacity to reach out to more students all over the world, making knowledge easily accessible resource for anyone, most especially children.

 Figure 2. Infographic summary of OLPC review created by the group


Information Society Class – Com 12 A (Infographics Peg)



Exconde, Jana

Gomez, Reena

Kier Obang

Magdaluyo, Krissa

Que, Patricia

Sanchez, Arion

Sevilla, Stefan

Liwanag Sa Dilim: Illac Diaz’s One Liter of Light Project

A good example of an appropriate technology would be the solar bottle bulbs of the Isang Litrong Liwanag/Liter of Light project.

Photo from

The idea came from a Brazilian mechanic named Alfredo Moser, and was brought to the Philippines in 2011 through social innovator Illac Diaz’s MyShelter Foundation. In addition to the appeal of its ingenuity and sustainability, Diaz made the idea of manufacturing these solar bulbs even more attractive by introducing it as an industry from which the average worker can generate profit, and one that can effectively address a pressing need among poor households.

These 55-watt eco-friendly bulbs are very easy to make and install. All you need is a cleaned and sanded PET bottle filled with water and a few drops of ammonia, carefully cut 26-gauge galvanized steel sheets (yero), and an ample amount of epoxy glue. The top half of the bottle sticks out of the roof to catch sunlight, and the water inside the bottle simply refracts or bends this to brighten up the room in which it has been placed. The cap is sealed shut in order to ensure that the water won’t evaporate, while the ammonia prevents the water inside from getting contaminated by algae. The putty lining that joins the bottle and the steel sheet keeps the contraption from falling apart. Of course, the bottle works only in the daytime, but it’s definitely better than nothing.

Photo from

Illac intends to bring this idea to the world, saying that he wants Filipinos to benefit and profit from this innovation, rather than simply being beneficiaries. To help the idea grow sustainably, the “local entrepreneur” model has been adopted. The solar bottles are not mass produced in large factories but are hand-made in local communities. Detainees of the Makati City Jail, for example, earn P8.00 for every solar light bulb they produce. This model also forgoes the environmental waste incurred by concentrating production in one large factory.

Solar bottles emit zero carbon and are more cost-effective and sustainable than incandescent or LED light bulbs. The substitution of incandescent bulbs to solar bottles showed a substantial decrease in accumulated Greenhouse Gas emissions over its 5-year lifetime. The materials for the bottles are also readily available in the communities, forgoing the need for manufacturing and transporting new bottles to areas of production. In addition to this, the money saved by families from using solar bottles instead of electric light bulbs can be used to attend to other needs, such as sending children to school.

This project has provided a sustainable light source for classrooms in rural areas and impoverished villages in the metro, helping mothers and children work or study more effectively inside their homes. The installation of the solar bottles would significantly decrease fire-related incidents caused by illegal electric connections in slum areas.

Isang Litrong Liwanag has brightened lives of many Filipinos and they intend to bring light to 4 more million homes in 4 different continents in the coming years.

 Find out how you can make your own solar bottle bulb:


Chang, Elliot. “1 Liter of Light Project Illuminates Thousands of Filipino Homes With Recycled Bottles.” Inhabitat., 19 Aug 2012. Web. 23 Feb 2014.

Diaz, Illac. “How to build a solar bottle bulb 3.0 (UPDATED 2013).” YouTube. YouTube, 13 Mar 2013. Web. 23 Feb 2014.

Garcia, Krista. “Q&A: Illac Diaz, Innovator.” Rappler. Rappler, 2 Oct 2013. Web. 23 Feb 2014.

Liter of Light. MyShelter Foundation, 2011. Web. 23 Feb 2014.

Zobel, Gibby. “Alfredo Moser: Bottle light inventor proud to be poor.” BBC News Magazine. BBC, 12 Aug 2013. Web. 23 Feb 2014.

Group members:

Alarilla, France

Bayta, Carla

Ilagan, Gabriel

Lim, Katrina

Samonte, Misha

Tadiar, Rina

A Future that’s Bright, Clear…and Round?

For centuries, sunlight has been used in photosynthesis, drying clothes or rice, and growing crops, however, recently it has been used for solar power. Solar power is basically the power obtained by harnessing the light from the sun. But how do solar panels absorb sunlight and turn it into electricity? Made from layers of silicon, PV cells produce electricity whenever sunlight shines on it, creating an electric field across the layers. PV cells vary in shape and size, but panels usually placed on top of an existing roof are the ones commonly used, or solar tiles.

The Rawlemon devices track the movement of the sun

         The concept of Spherical Solar generator is the brainchild of Architect Andre Broessel of Rawlemon. This project uses the advantageous strategy of using a spherical lens to concentrate sunlight on a small photovoltaic panel and combines this with a dual-axis pivot that tracks the movement of the sun. By function, it is quite similar to the traditional solar flat panels but by concentrating the sun’s light in one area, it reduces the solar cell surface required. It is conceptualized to be able to harness solar energy from the sun, the moon, or even the gray sky of a cloudy day. The use of the transparent lens, it would be possible for this technology to be integrated to buildings, walls, etc.

Spherical solar generators are considered to be “appropriate technologies” since it uses an efficient and renewable energy resource, the sun. Well, renewable energy is not an entirely new concept, but it is slowly emerging as an alternative to fossil fuels and, hopefully, other detrimental energy sources. Harnessing the energy of the sun is within our grasp, and for developing countries, this is great opportunity for change. Solar power is an increasing market which is also good for the environment because it replaces the traditional, and in effect harmful, methods of energy production. Reasons for choosing solar energy are also becoming clearly because of the extensive research being conducted in this field, solar panels are developing into more efficient models than ever.

Henceforth, this new form of solar power technology is a breakthrough in solar power science for it exploits light’s characteristic of being reflected by ‘concentrating’ the light on to one particular spot. It is a huge step forward from the most advanced solar power generator before it, which merely tried to track the sun’s rays but at the same time, causing it to be really faulty in the occurrence of bad weather. Apart from this, this technology economically uses less solar cells, a costly technology. Lastly, the spherical structure allows the technology to absorb light even from sources such as the moon or from sunlight during that of a cloudy day’s.

Need some more reasons to make the jump to solar? Check out our blog -> 8 Great Reasons To Go Solar Today! #Solar #GoSolar TAKE ADVANTAGE OF $0 DOWN SOLAR AND RENEWABLE ENERGY TAX CREDITS TODAY! Start Living Green and Saving Green With www.GreenerDawn.comThe Philippines is at an advantage geographically given that it is located close to the equator and receives more sunlight than in other regions of the world all year round. Given the steady incline of improvements and advancements of solar technology, it would be beneficial for the Philippines as a developing country to make use of solar energy and eventually, if possible, run purely on solar energy when the technology further develops to be economical, affordable, and with this new innovation, we’ll be one step closer to reaching a future of solar power and energy.

Lastly, here’s a creative concept of the Spherical Solar Power Generator and its industrial implementation through the use of CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery):

…and, Watch Team Rawlemon’s  video pitch below:



“Beta.ey Spherical Glass Solar Device Charger by Rawlemon.” Designboom Architecture Design Magazine Betaray Spherical                Glass Solar Energy Generator by Rawlemon Comments. Design Boom, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.

Buczynsky, Beth. “Rawlemon’s New Betaray Crystal Ball Harvests Light From The Sun, Moon and Clouds! | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.” Inhabitat Sustainable Design Innovation Eco Architecture Green Building Rawlemons New Betaray Crystal Ball Harvests Light From The Sun Moon and Clouds Comments. Inhabitat, 22 Dec. 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.

Robarts, Stu. “Rawlemon’s Beautiful, Spherical Solar Energy Generators.” Rawlemon’s Beautiful, Spherical Solar Energy Generators. Gizmag, 14 Jan. 2014. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.


Cariño, Michael

Chuatoco, Alyanna

Cobrador, Paterno

Javier, Jan

Laygo, Jason

Parma, Mia

Punsalan, Casey

Exploring Appropriate Technologies: The Solar Light Bulb

By: Angeles, Ereñeta, Jeng, Litam, Montenegro, Segui, Tuason

           “Appropriate Technology (AT)” is a term coined by Dr. Ernst Friedrich “Fritz” Schumacher that refers to the ideological movement which utilizes technology in an energy-efficient, environment friendly, low-cost, and labor-intensive manner; geared towards the improvement of the standard of living in the developing world. Various cultural, social, and ethical aspects are put into deep consideration when creating new ideas for appropriate technology. One notable example, which has proven to be effective and useful in many developing countries, including the Philippines, is the solar light bulb.



           The first solar light bulb, Nokero’s N100 was designed to “create more light using the ultimate light source”. The bulb is engaged in an ultra-rugged, rainproof enclosure which can supply up to 4 hours of light when completely charged. It is made from impact resistant plastic, as well as solar panels, LEDs and a replaceable nickel metal hydride battery, which lasts for up to 2 years. When it is exposed under solar energy, it is able to trap enough juice to yield illumination for roughly 2 hours.

           The bulb works like regular solar technologies; it is left under the sun for its four solar panels to absorb radiation which will be converted to and used as energy. It is designed to hang outdoors in order for the panels to charge the batteries and then to be used later on at night. It has the feature of automatically turning off in an environment of bright light to conserve charge, but it also has the option of an On/Off switch. The purpose of having batteries allows the light bulb to be used when the owner requires or pleases rather than immediately after charge, and the batteries are replaceable so that the bulb itself may last a long period of time. It is overall durable and rainproof with less chances of overheating since the batteries were made to withstand higher or lower than normal temperatures (-20 to 55 degrees Celsius).


           The solar powered light bulb allows people living in rural areas to continue working even during late hours. There has been an increase in the economic activity levels of villages where these light bulbs have been installed. Many areas that do not have electricity use kerosene lamps, but fumes from kerosene lamps are harmful to both health and the environment. The solar light bulb helps address these issues. Kerosene lamps are also incredibly dangerous and are serious fire hazards. The solar light bulb, on the other hand, is completely safe. Not only that, but the solar light bulb saves energy and reduces air pollution and greenhouse gases as photovoltaic systems do not emit carbon dioxide while producing electrical power. With the use of these light bulbs, quality of life is improved in rural areas and migration to urban cities is prevented. Maintenance is a lot easier compared to kerosene lamps and diesel generators that constantly need to be refueled and maintained. Lastly, Literacy and school work are also improved as people can more easily read in the dark with a solar light bulb rather than by candle or lamp light.

Impact on Sustainable Development

           When talking about impacts on sustainable development, it is important to know what and how much resources it takes to create and operate a technological product. With the solar light bulb, the main resource that this technology consumes is solar power, as it is powered using 4 solar panels that energize its nickel metal hydride battery. With regard to solar power as a resource, it is virtually infinite so long as the sun is visible.

           The International Institute for Sustainable Development defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The solar light bulb addresses one of the essential needs of the world’s poor, which is the need for light, without compromising the needs of future generations. At the same time, it also addresses the concept of limitations. According to its product description, the solar light bulb was made for “developing nations where continual electricity is a mere pipe dream.” Because of its dependence on solar power, developing nations have a chance to have a steady light source even without the presence of continual electricity.


           Many households all over Africa need light to perform their activities but daily life and work are often disrupted with the setting of the sun.  With no way of obtaining light, many Africans live in darkness and are often forced to use fossil fuels. With the help of the solar powered light bulb, many African households will be able to live comfortably and continue their work even after the sun has set.

           In Medor, Haiti, education is important to many of its residents, but education is difficult without sufficient light and electricity. Sue Carlson, Chair of the Haiti Committee of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, VA, decided to solve this problem by providing each student in the 12th and 13th grades with a solar powered light bulb. The light has provided students with the opportunity to study more outside of school. This has made a huge difference in the lives of the students as many of them have gone on to college and few have entered law and medical school under full scholarships.

           In November of 2013, just days after the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, which left thousands of Filipinos without food, water, shelter, or electricity, Nokero decided to launch the Solar Relief Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to provide victims with light as they try to restore their homes and towns. Without electricity, there is delay in the reconstruction and restoration because of the long, dark nights. Numerous non-profit organizations joined the campaign and purchased light bulbs to be distributed in devastated areas. The light bulbs have been well received and appreciated by the typhoon victims. Over 4,000 light bulbs have been distributed in Tacloban, Leyte, Samar, etc., and the campaign continues to bring light, comfort, and hope to many Filipinos affected by the typhoon.

           Because of the great demand for light and the effectivity of this technology, the use of solar lights has grown immensely throughout the years. In fact, there is now an organization which aims to improve quality of life by providing “clean and healthy lighting” through the distribution of one million solar lights across different nations in the globe. This is the non-profit organization, One Million Lights. Solar lighting has been found to be a clean, safe, and affordable means to provide light in many rural communities. As of April 2013, the organization had already distributed 37,561 solar lights in 27 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

           In the Philippines, One Million Lights has already distributed 5,372 lights across many provinces. The Philippine Star writes, “They have changed these barangays… with the fervor of their idealism and with solar-powered lamps.” (2013) Indeed, solar lights have not only served a great purpose to Mother Earth, but have also significantly improved education, livelihood, household work, etc. in places that need light.

INTO THE FUTURE                                                  

           Solar technology is not new to the world, yet it is only now that the advantages it provides are being noticed. In the case of the solar powered light bulb, the fact that it is the source of light for developing countries shows that it isn’t simply just a means of saving on electrical energy but a channel to give what many lack. The ability to harness the sun’s radiation and convert it into energy opens up new doors for world’s future. Nokero has also been manufacturing solar battery chargers for cellular phones, a sign that this technology is not limited to producing light. The solar light bulb is one of the ingenious inventions which are able to cater to basic human needs, another example being a solar water purifier. Perhaps the light bulb could be advanced in the future in order for it to last longer than its current state. Perhaps most houses could be required to have half their lighting systems use solar light in order to cut costs and electricity use. At this point, the solar light bulb can develop in numerous directions, but one thing that’s for sure is that this amazing and very appropriate technology has a bright future ahead.


“Benefits of Solar Lights and Lanterns for the Rural World.” !llusions 4 Real. !llusions 4 Real, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.

“Blog: Nokero Solar Relief in the Philippines After Typhoon Haiyan.” Nokero. Nokero USA, LLC, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.

Katie. “Mentionable Monday: Solar Lights Improve Education in Haiti.” Nokero. Nokero USA, LLC, 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.

“Mission.” One Million Lights. One Million Lights, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.

Murph, Darren. “Nokero Debuts Rugged, Rainproof N100 Solar Light Bulb for Developing Worlds.” Engadget. AOL Inc., 09 June 2010. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.

“Nokero N100 Solar LED Light.” One Stop Green. One Stop Green, LLC, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.

“Our Impact.” One Million Lights Philippines. One Million Lights Philippines, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.

Owens, Chante. “Solar Power: Helping the Environment, Reducing Global Poverty -BORGEN.” The Borgen Project. The Borgen Project, 07 Nov. 2013. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.

“Solar Energy Examples.” Benefits-of-Recycling. Benefits of Recycling, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.

“What Is Sustainable Development?” International Institute for Sustainable Development. International Institute for Sustainable Development, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.

Xilebat. “10 Cases of Appropriate Technology.” Listverse. Listverse Ltd., 12 Jan. 2010. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <;.


Nanotechnology – making small stuff do big things

                                    –Wade Adams, TEDxHouston Image

          More than ten years ago, it was unimaginable- even impossible- for maps, calculators, telephones, dictionaries, compasses, notebooks, books, etc. to all fit inside your pocket. Now, we have all those things and so much more compressed in a pocket-sized gadget that we can just carry around wherever we go. Who would have thought that in just one screen, thousands of applications can be accessed?

          But today nanotechnology is evolving not just in designing new waves of computer chips and gadgets but also in developing the use of energy, science, medicine, environment, electronics, communications, surveillance, and many other things. Erwin Enriquez defined nanotechnology as anything that deals with materials and devices that are fabricated within the nanometer scale, and the tools and phenomena that are manifested within these scales.

          What exactly are these scales? To understand it better, let us borrow from one of our sources who asked us to imagine pulling out one strand of our hair. As we feel its thinness on our fingers, imagine separating it into 100,000 more strands. That’s about the size of a nanometer.

          Dubbed to be the new technology, nanotechnology is paving way to many more ideas that can potentially change the world. Let’s look at a few examples:

Eradicating water pollution with nanotechnology

           Water pollution poses a major threat to any country in the world. The earth, being made up of water for the most part, may be seen as having an infinite source of water; but the thing is, sources of potable water are being depleted as industrialization and modernization become full blown in the current era.

           According to the World Water Development Report in 2012, 90% of the waste water generated in developing countries flow directly to bodies of water, which is a threat to purity and safety of drinking water in these places (, 2012). The incessant advancements brought about by modernization at present continue to generate harmful waste that could pollute the world’s sources of drinking water. As such, there is a need to employ better ways of purifying water from contaminants before they are made available for people to drink.

Image   + NANOTECH =  Image


                New innovations involve the use of nanotechnology to purify ground water from pollutants. Nanoparticles are used to make contaminants harmless through a chemical reaction (


                Nanoparticles, as shown in the earlier example in water purification, can be used to eliminate harmful contaminants from water. They can be used to eradicate bacteria as well, working through a process where these nanoparticles attach themselves to pollutants. These nanoscavengers, as they are called, have synthetic cores which are coated with reactive nanoparticles which can easily be magnetized ( They are termed as such since they “feed” on harmful substances. Once these nanoscavengers are integrated into dirty water, they eliminate the bacteria by attaching to them and are brought out of the water when the force of a magnetic field is employed.

A threat to threats

                Nanotechnology’s range is not limited to bacteria. It can also be used to remove sediments, chemicals, charged particles, and other pathogens (, 2010). One example mentioned in Science Daily’s article is that of carbon nanotube membranes, which can purify water from almost any contaminant.


    Nanotech purifier filters. Photo from

         Nanotechnology brings forth new possibilities for water purification. With the help of this innovation, cleaning and purifying water is no longer limited to the use of chlorine or other chemicals which eliminate unwanted organisms and/or substances. With nanotechnology, the capability of removing any sort of contaminant improves continuously as this advancement flourishes at the present times, and as it is honed and polished as the years go by.

Nanotechnology utilized for air purification

          Natural and artificial processes and activities have caused a mass introduction of harmful materials into the planet’s atmosphere. Pollutants from various origins make their way into the ecosystem and accumulate overtime causing disease, damage and death to humans and other organisms. This problem has been persisting for quite a while, triggering various strives that are geared at mitigating the harms caused by these substances in the air. Nanotechnology, in its different shapes and forms, has been utilized in order to ensure the safety of the earth and its inhabitants from the detriments of air pollutants. Nanotechnology plays a vital role in filtering out pollution already present, reduction of pollutants produced by improving key processes, and creating more cost-efficient alternative energy sources.

Lessening of air pollutants during manufacturing

           Propylene oxide is an industrially generated liquid intended for the production of polyurethane plastics, paint, detergents, and other industry-relevant materials. Despite its glaring advantages, the production of propylene oxide yields massive amounts of harmful substances like chlorinated or peroxycarboxylic waste. This proves it inefficiency in the grander scale of things. These aforesaid substances really are a threat to the safety of people, seeing that they are actually probable carcinogens.

           In order to lessen the threat of propylene oxide by-products, nanotechnology frontrunners have developed silver nanoclusters as catalysts. They use this technology to produce the same liquid but yield far less pollutants overall when used in low temperatures. This makes the entire process more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

Filtering out carbon dioxide in power plants

         A third of the world’s carbon dioxide (C02) emissions come from energy production. Plants that opt to be more environmentally friendly do so by separating the CO2 from the waste gasses and depositing them in the ground. This process however is very expensive and requires the use of many chemicals, making it less popular in the energy production industry.

          Since there is a need for a more efficient way to filter out CO2, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology has developed a new membrane technology that helps make this process a lot easier. This membrane is fashioned by means of nanotechnology and is made out of a plastic material that proves to be quite inexpensive and highly effective. When used, it allows the other gases to pass through freely while locking in the CO2 emissions. This can actually be used for nearly all CO2 removal processes, making it easier for various industries to subscribe to this particular kind of activity. More avenues for CO2 storage has been created, causing for less emissions in the atmosphere.


         Life was easier ever since the discovery of nanotechnology.Many improvements in the computer has been made, like increasing memory and in speed, more storage capacity and less power consumption. The nanoscale transistors are faster, powerful, energy-efficient and in the future, the computer’s entire memory can fit in a very tiny chip. Even for altering one’s body, there are hip implants that are said to be “friendlier” because of nanoscale topography that encourages cells to accept them.

           Automobiles have also improved. The materials used in them are now lighter and stronger. Also, according to National Nanotechnology Initiative, cars can now have rechargeable batteries, thermoelectric materials for temperature control, lower-rolling-resistance tires; high-efficiency/low-cost sensors and electronics; thin-film smart solar panels; and fuel additives and improved catalytic converters for cleaner exhaust and extended range. Right now, they are trying to look for fuel cells that are cleaner and better for the environment.

           Nanotechnology can also be found in people’s everyday life. Example is watching in 3D, that is nanotechnology working. High-definition (HD) watching uses nanotechnology as well. Nano sized polymers in displays allow brighter images, less power consumption and more viewing angles. Nanotechnology also helps with the accelerometer and rotation of people’s smartphone screens. Even their clothes nowadays are being improved by nanotechnology. New fabrics are made to be resistant to liquid by having little hairs or whiskers to help repel them. The liquid simply falls off without leaving marks of stains or dampness. Fabrics are coated with a thin layer of zinc oxide nanoparticles that resists wrinkling, bacterial growth and even gives better protection against ultraviolet rays. Now, it is easier to repel dirt and lessen the use of harmful cleaning agents. As said in the National Nanotechnology Initiative, even eyeglasses, windows, camera displays, computer and other surfaces can have water-repellant, anti-reflective, self-cleaning, resistant to ultraviolet or infrared light, anti-fog, antimicrobial, scratch-resistant or electrically conductive. It is scratch resistant and resistant to chipping because of the aluminum silicate nanoparticles applied to polymer coatings. Also, polymer composite materials for sports equipment like baseball bats and tennis rackets, motorcycle helmets, car bumpers, suitcase and tools for housing can be lightweight, stiff, durable and  resilient due to nanotechnology.

          The idea of self-cleaning glass may seem impossible, but Pilkington offers it already, calling it Activ Glass. It uses nanoparticles to make the glass hydrophilic and photocatalytic. It being hydrophilic spreads the water once it makes contact with the glass, which washes it clean. They photocatalytic breaks down the dirt by being energized once hit by ultraviolet radiation.

          There is a bright future for nanotechnology. Many countries are now investing on the technology of this century. According to Tanishq Abraham, a 10 year-old college student, the future of nanotechnology can lead to making a real invisibility cloak. Nanoparticles have negative refractive index, that makes light bend in a different way. The photons would go around the object; people would see not the object because they will see the image behind it. There are many things nanotechnology holds for us, we just have to explore more in this very tiny world.

Shining some light on Solar Panel Nanotechnology

          According to the National Academy of Engineering, the Earth receives power from the sun that is 10,000 times more energy than what all the commercial power plants produce but harvesting it is the problem because it can be costly and limiting when it comes to capturing the energy (

           What scientists found as a solution is to use black metals with a nanostructured surface for solar panels, to trap more light. The surface of these metals are treated by “roughening them at the nanoscale level to create dips and ridges just billionths of a metre apart. It actually makes them blacker. This gives them lower reflectivity and makes them able to absorb more wavelengths of light” (

          To add, Rockefeller Foundation states that “nanotechnology-built panels have a smooth surface that prevents water, dust and dirt accumulation, making them self-cleaning, anti-fading, anti-fogging and anti-bacterial.” These Self-Cleaning Solar Panels which avoids build-up results to 6% improved solar energy absorption, 35% more efficiency over a 20-year period, decreased need for yearly cleaning and three to five year decrease in cost payback time (

          Nanotechnology also made it possible for the Dye-Enhanced Solar Cells which mimics nature’s process of photosynthesis. Northwestern University researchers last 2012 made a new type of “dye-sensitized” solar cell “which uses an organic dye monolayer to help absorb sunlight, much as plants do for photosynthesis.” It uses nanomaterials like titanium dioxide nanoparticles and caesium tin iodide thin films, as high-performance p-type and n-type semiconductors. (

         New technologies are on the way, says National Geographic. University of Connecticut and Penn State researchers are using a new approach through nanoscale antenna arrays. These would “take in a wider range of frequencies and collect about 70 percent of the available energy in sunlight.” Also, even without additional gear, these arrays can convert that energy to direct current. (



Enriquez, Erwin. Stellar Origins of Human Ways: Nanotechnology for the Philippines

Soutter, Will. “Nanotechnology in Solar Power.” Nanotechnology in Solar Power. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2014. <>.

Cave, Holly. “Mother Nature Talks Nanotech: The Ultimate Solar Panel.” Guardian News and Media, 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2014. <>.

“100 Innovators.” Nanotechnology to Improve Solar Panel Efficiency. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2014. <>.

Kiger, Patrick J. “Sun Plus Nanotechnology: Can Solar Energy Get Bigger by Thinking Small?” National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 28 Apr. 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2014. <;.

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Sevilla, Stefan

Nanotechnology: Yay or Nay?

When people speak of nanotechnology, they usually think of scientists in labs creating little robots to do their bidding. Popular science fiction movies like, I, Robot, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra have helped propagate this mentality with their use of miniature robots as destructive forces. Thus, nanotechnology has been much misunderstood in its relatively short life. No one outside of the scientific community knows what it really is.

Fig. 1 Nanomites in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra


In this blog, we plan to shed some light on nanotechnology. By getting to know it better, we will see if it is beneficial or detrimental to society. In this way, we gain a better appreciation for nanotechnology, its applications, and its impact on our world.

We begin by defining what nanotechnology is. Nanotechnology can be broken down to 2 key concepts: “nano” and “technology”. Nano is defined as the one-billionth or 1×10-9 of a quantity. Technology is the practical application of scientific knowledge. Taken together, nanotechnology is thus the application of scientific concepts at the one-billionth level. This refers usually to manipulation at the molecular level. In doing so, new properties of matter are being explored and this opens up a new aperture in technological applications.

In order to better illustrate such technology, we have chosen to explore a specific system developed by scientists at the Institute of the Institute of Energy Technology (INTE) which is affiliated to the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya: BarcelonaTech (UPC), the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia). According to the article, they have found a way “to produce hydrogen from water and sunlight in a way that is clean, renewable and more cost-effective than other methods.”

 A new photocatalyst has been developed by researchers that produces hydrogen from water and sunlight. The catalyst consists of gold nanoparticles and titanium oxide crystals. This kind of process would somehow be the same with the regular solar panels of today, the main difference is that with the catalyst of nanoparticles it would be able to maximize the use of natural sunlight compared to only the ultraviolet rays. They do this with the use of a 3D photonic crystal that captures the visible light when the gold nanoparticles resonate. This kind of process that produces hydrogen from the photochemical process would eventually become a more productive and efficient way of collecting power from hydrogen since it would only require water and solar energy.

Fig. 2 Diagram of how the system works

This research is just one of the many ways of producing clean and renewable sources of energy.  With the depletion of our natural resources like fossil fuels, eventually we would require more ways to answer the increasing consumption of energy in the world. Furthermore, alternative energy sources are deemed to be cleaner than fossil fuels as they do not release emissions that are currently known to be detrimental to the environment. Nanotechnology has created opportunities to alternative sources of energy.

This breakthrough provides new hope in the field of renewable energy. While previous technologies proved too inefficient to truly challenge the gas-guzzling giants, this system could be the first step to feasible large-scale application of renewable energy. The researchers have already breached the 5% mark of conversion rate of solar energy into hydrogen. This is the entry point at which the goal of sustainable energy is deemed attainable.

All in all, nanotechnology is still a new frontier that needs to be explored further in order to be understood. While we see many opportunities for growth, we also need to be cautious as not to be blindsided by unforeseen consequences. Nanotechnology is still a fledgling discipline and as such, its after-effects, especially on our environment, will not be felt until some time in the future. However, we believe that proper risk management can abate whatever potential crises nanotechnology brings. With proper attention to detail, discoveries such as this have the potential to change life as we know it. The future of nanotechnology is as bright as we want it to be.


Members: Alarilla | Bayta | Ilagan | Lim | Samonte | Tadiar



Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). “Researchers design new catalyst to produce

hydrogen from water, sunlight.” ScienceDaily, 13 Dec. 2013. Web. 20 Jan. 2014. <>

Fig. 1 <>

All the Small Things

All the Small Things:

Pitting Paint Against Air Pollutants

By: Ablaza, Lopez, Ng, Tan, Tejada, Teng, and Zarza (SCI 10 M)

The momentous events that transpired along EDSA will always be overshadowed by the one word that defines EDSA in the minds of most Filipino citizens: traffic. The words EDSA and traffic seem to be inseparable in traffic updates, news reports, and of course, late excuses. Any citizen of Metro Manila would agree that EDSA traffic is headache-inducing with the seemingly unending influx of cars, impatient drivers honking their horns, and numerous traffic violators. However, our discomfort while traveling through EDSA is just one of the many negative effects of EDSA traffic. The roughly 2 million vehicles that pass through EDSA every day account for much of the pollution that is plaguing the air we breathe. Statistics show that there are nearly 5000 deaths due to air pollution each year (Zafra, 2012), and if the trend continues to persist, we can expect worse figures in the coming years.

To address this problem, one of the recent initiatives presented an unorthodox answer to the growing pollution problem. For the Boysen KNOxOUT Project: EDSA (Everyone Deserves Safe Air) initiative, one way to help clean the air is through art, street art to be exact. The term “street art” often has a negative connotation because it is associated with graffiti and vandalism or vibrant artworks spray-painted across public property. However, for this project, eleven artists were commissioned to make a total of 8,000 square meters of street art in 8 different locations  using a special kind of paint called Boysen KNOxOUT (Zafra, 2012). The artists include Asuncion Imperial, Damien Anne, Tapio Snellman, Erika Tan, Jose Tence Ruiz, and artists from the TBWA Art Department.

Artwork that depicts the EDSA Revolution in 1986 done by Asuncion Imperial and Damien Anne of B+C Design, located below the EDSA-Ortigas Flyover

Artwork that depicts the EDSA Revolution in 1986 done by Asuncion Imperial and Damien Anne of B+C Design, located below the EDSA-Ortigas Flyover

The core of this initiative is the Boysen KNOxOUT paint and the special technology behind it.

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Nanotechnology: Advantages, Disadvantages and Nano-pollutants?

by: Angeles, Ereñeta, Jeng, Litam, Montenegro, Segui, Tuason

Without first looking at textbook definitions, the term nanotechnology can be deduced by separating the prefix nano, which in the metric system refers to the factor 10-9 (something extremely small), from technology, which can refer to machines, electricity, application of science in life, etc. Combining these two, the meaning of nanotechnology can be reasoned literally as an extremely small scaled machine or product of a scientific process.

While that definition seems adequate, Dr. Ralph Merkle makes an analogy that manufacturing methods of today are very crude at the molecular level that it is like trying to make something out of Lego blocks. However, instead of using bare hands the constructor is wearing boxing gloves. For him, piles and heaps can be tried to be made out of the Lego blocks, but exact figures would be impossible to create due to the gloves. He then says that with nanotechnology, it is like removing the gloves and being able to make the exact figures wanted because it’s possible to simply snap the Lego together quickly and efficiently. In a sense, nanotechnology is delving into the basic molecular structure of anything and arranging it in the necessary form. There are definitely pros and cons to using it, but nanotechnology generally allows for the reconstruction and reengineering of nano-sized structures to create something which should benefit society.

Image 1. Some applications involving nanotechnology pursued by the Philippines

Image 1. Some applications involving nanotechnology pursued by the Philippines

Nanotechnology provides plenty of advantages in fields where it is applied. Environmentally, it is able to help expedite the cleaning up process through developments such as that of nanofabric “paper towels”, which absorb 20 times its weight in oil, and filters in airplane cabins which are better able to remove odors. In agriculture, nanotechnology-enabled sensors are being advanced in order to be able to pinpoint harmful agents present in the air and soil. This would help farmers find the best possible places to grow crops as well as be aware of the reasons for poorly grown produces. Nanotechnologies have also been applied in cosmetic and beauty products through enhancing antioxidant and anti-microbial properties, and windows and other surfaces have been modified in order to be water-proof, anti-reflective, scratch-proof and electrically conducive. Overall, nanotechnology is  aimed at helping advance the work and tools needed to provide humans with a better life.

Yet despite the benefits nanotechnologies present, disadvantages inevitably follow. Some notable disadvantages are: 1. Ethical concerns due to the potential to engineer humans to become hyper-intelligent and much stronger, leading to a discrepancy in status because of a “lower class” of humans; 2. The greater chances for unemployment to rise in the farming and manufacturing industries because of the lesser need for human labour with more efficient technology; 3. The production of atomic weapons posing as a threat to society.

Aside from those mentioned, one imminent disadvantage which easily goes unnoticed yet should not be ignored is the factor of nano-pollutants. Nano-pollutants are particles small enough to enter one’s lungs and be absorbed by the skin which becomes very dangerous not only to one’s health, but to the general environment. These nanosized contaminants cause instabilities and disorders in the environment, the same way they do to one’s body. Volcanoes and the ocean often release nanoparticles when they release ash or have waves which burst violently, respectively, and this amount of nanoparticles is not what is causing harm to the world. Rather, the man-made nano-pollutants are the ones people should be wary of. By-products from the manufacturing of nanotechnologies are where the miniscule pollutants often come from, and the fact that these are placed in landfills allows more exposure to soil and air. Nano-pollution from car exhausts and construction sites are also easily soaked up by the air, and inhaling a high amount of nano-pollution is quite toxic to both humans and other animals, thus if left unresolved could lead to a great problem in our ecosystem.

In the end, it is all a matter of being aware of the things produced in our society. Although nanotechnologies create nano-waste, they are also able to aid in reducing pollution across the globe through innovating more efficient technologies. Nanotechnologies definitely carry the hope of a better and brighter future but it is necessary not to look past negative produces as well. Nano-pollutants could be reduced through the communication between scientists because it is those who specialize in a subject that would know how to deal with it. Manufacturers could carefully identify and handle their products, but it is the knowledge and discoveries of scientists which would teach the world how to properly dispose of specific types of pollutants in the best possible manner. The very small will undeniably bring very big things, and hopefully those things will be for the best.


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