Filipino scientist invents alternative to LPG-fueled cooking stove

Filipino scientist LPG-fueled
This cooking stove uses the Nipahol fuel alternative to liquefied petroleum gas. DOST photo.

Filipino scientist Dr. Fiorello Abenes has invented a fuel alternative to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for use in household stoves.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Balik Scientist from CalPoly Pomona University in California, USA, and his team at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, created a Nipahol (nipa sap ethanol)-fueled stove with a burner that is seen to be a cleaner cooking fuel.

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“Dirty cooking is still a problem in many of the rural areas of the Philippines. The use of firewood or charcoal emit unhealthy levels of particulates and noxious gases that affect the respiratory track, mostly affecting women. Ethanol as cooking fuel is cleaner,” said Dr. Abenes in the DOST report.

“We have developed a prototype that we hope we can scale up and make into a cooking stove suitable for indoor use and in commercial establishments,” Dr. Abenes added.

Although the stove prototype is yet to be developed as pressurized, Dr. Abenes and his team at MMSU successfully created the alternative stove with a burner and functions through the pull of gravity.

Abenes is leading the technology transfer and commercialization of MMSU’s Village-Scale Nipahol Technology (VSNT).

The successful adoption of MMSU’s VSNT rests on finding more uses for the ethanol produced from NIPA. The use of Nipahol as cooking fuel will accelerate the commercialization of the VSNT technology.

Nipahol Technology is an innovation produced by extracting sap from Nipa (Nypa fruticans) into “Nipahol” at a facility housed at the National Bioenergy Research and Innovation Center (NBERIC) of the MMSU. Technologies from Nipa are seen to provide a multitude of uses, given its commercial viability in different portions of the value chain.

The Balik Scientist Program aims to promote information exchange and accelerate the flow of new technology into the country by strengthening the scientific and technological manpower of the academe and public and private institutions. The Program encourages Filipino scientists, technologists, and experts to return to the Philippines and share their expertise in order to promote scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development, including the development of the country’s human capital in science, technology, and innovation.

The enactment of the Balik Scientist Act in June 2018 also paved the way for DOST to grant returning Filipino scientists competitive benefits such as daily subsistence allowance, health insurance, and roundtrip airfare. For those interested to become a Balik Scientist, you may contact the DOST Balik Scientist Program Management Office thru email at bsp@dost.gov.ph.

Balik Scientists who have made contributions to the Philippines’ S&T sector include robotics scientist Rodrigo Jamisola Jr. who built underwater drones to protect Pasig River, Philippine Rise, and Verde Island.

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