Carvey Ehren Maigue from Mapua University becomes the first-ever recipient of the James Dyson Sustainability Award.

The James Dyson Award is an international design competition that runs in 27 countries, and it’s here to celebrate, encourage, and inspire the next generation of design engineers. The competition is open to university-level students in the fields of product design, industrial design, and engineering.

This year, the James Dyson sustainability prize landed in the hands of a 27-year-old Filipino student, Carvey Ehren Maigue, who found a genius way to turn food waste into energy.

A new florescent material made out of waste fruit and vegetables that harvests light and turns it into electricity has won the first ever ‘sustainability’ prize in the James Dyson Award 2020.

The innovation, called Aureus, is made from up-cycled crop waste that can be attached to the sides of buildings to harvest invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Aureus was invented by 27-year-old engineer Carvey Ehren Maigue from Mapua University in Manila, the Philippines.

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With his AUREUS System Technology, a material made from waste crops that can be attached to a pre-existing structure or surface to harvest UV light and convert it into visible light to generate electricity in a way that traditional solar panels can’t, 27-year-old Carvey bested more than 1,800 entries of students from 27 countries across the globe.

“I focused on solar energy because I believe that it is good if we can use this natural resources,” Carvey says. “Even if it’s cloudy or rainy, there are still UV light around us, and conventional solar panels can’t get this energy. And that’s the thing my invention gives focus to.”

What is remarkable about Carvey’s invention is that it doesn’t simply just get energy from natural resources. The materials he uses in AuREUS are in fact made from waste crops.

“One of the most important components of my invention is that we can get energy even from waste crops, especially produce that are hit by natural calamities,” he continues. “There are organic luminescent compounds from different fruits and vegetables, these high energy waves are being converted into visible lights. Using solar panels and solar films, this invisible lights are converted into electricity.”

In 2018, Carvey and his teammates joined the competition but failed to make it to the national leg. But this didn’t stop the young inventor from continuing with his project, even though some of his teammates already graduated. This year, all of his hard works paid off. It was James Dyson, founder and chief engineer at Dyson, himself who brought the good news to Carvey.

He also asks teachers to be patient with difficult students like him.

“Just hold on because who knows, one of your students might be building something better, something bigger that can change the world,” Carvey says. “I am really hopeful that this will be a way to spark that in them. And to show them that as Filipinos, as Southeast Asians, we can. And there are people who are there to hear our story.”

Carvey will received ₱1.9 million from the James Dyson Foundation. He will use this money to install the first actual activation of AUREUS System Technology in a community clinic in a far flung area in Quezon Province.


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