April 8, 2016, 4:06p.m. – THREE Thomasians bagged awards in a research competition spearheaded by the Department of Science Technology (DOST) last April 6, with one of them the first from UST to win in a new category.

Chemistry senior Jerome Alan Japitana’s research paper on developing fuel cell technology, titled ”Using non-precious materials in the development of a cost-effective cathode catalyst for direct ethanol fuel cells,” topped 30 finalists from both the Basic and Applied categories of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Foundation-sponsored competition, winning the Best Project and Best in Basic Research Award.

Japitana was the inaugural recipient of the Best in Basic Research Paper. He was also the first Thomasian to receive the Best Project of the Year award.

Japitana’s study aims to “improve the catalysis of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in the cathode side” of fuel cells. He said there was a need for an environmentally sustainable and economically feasible alternative source of energy.

“The study focuses on overcoming one of the main limitations of the fuel cell technology, specifically the cathode reaction. By developing a catalyst for this reaction that is less expensive and yet more efficient, it is possible to open doors to a sustainable and economically viable alternative energy source,” he said in an interview.

“I believe this achievement can serve as an impetus for Thomasian researchers to further excel in providing scientific solutions to social issues both nationally and internationally,” he added.

A total of 30 students from 11 participating universities joined the 27th BPI-DOST Science Awards. The universities included Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle University, University of the Philippines, Siliman University, University of San Carlos and Xavier University.

Meanwhile, applied physics student Jason Mactal’s research paper, “Fabrication of Polyaniline/Carbon Black/ Piña – Polyester Fabric Eectrode for Capacitive Deionization,” was named national finalist and placed sixth overall.

Chemical engineering student Justin Timothy Vinluan was included in the “30 Seeds of Change” for his study “Synthesis of Biodegradable Poly (Xylitol Diglycolate) and Characterization of its Thermal, Mechanical and Morphological Properties, and “In Vitro” Degradation.”

The theme of the 27th DOST-BPI Awards was “Engineering our Future through Environmental Sustainability,” which challenged students to come up with solutions that “address urgent environmental challenges with researches focused on sustainable materials, agriculture, disaster mitigation, health and technology.” Clarence I. Hormachuelos


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