Filipino farmer's son invents award-winning aircraft sealant from pili resin

·2 min read
(Source: Mark Kennedy Bantugon/Facebook)
(Source: Mark Kennedy Bantugon/Facebook)

A farmer’s son from Batangas bagged the national James Dyson Award for his innovative use of pili to make “sustainable sealant” for aircraft.

Mark Kennedy Bantugon, a graduate of Aeronautical Engineering from the Philippine State College of Aeronautics who is currently taking up graduate studies in Materials Science and Engineering at Mapua University, took on the project after realizing that the aviation industry lacked sustainable alternatives to the commercial sealant.

According to Bantugon's entry on the James Dyson Award site, his product offers safe and non-toxic effects to users' health.

The young engineer credits part of his brilliant discovery to his father who exposed him to farming early on in life. He then combined his agricultural experience with theories he learned from the academe, arriving at the conclusion that the waste of pili tree resin can be utilized as a sustainable sealant to prevent fuel leakages in aircraft.

(Source: Mark Kennedy Bantugon/Facebook)
(Source: Mark Kennedy Bantugon/Facebook)

Explaining how his product works, Bantugon said that "Pili Seal is a two-component sealant which consists of the waste of Pili Tree Resin that serves as the base ingredient for aircraft integral fuel tank sealant production. It is applicable for specific aircraft parts particularly the integral fuel tank as well as other areas subject to contact with aircraft fuels, lubricants, oils, water and/ or weathering."

Bantugon wants to learn more about how his sealant may be used in various industries, such as land and water transportation, building construction, and metal sheet roof applications. He wants to use this idea to help local Filipino farmers create revenues through upcycling and the utilization of pili tree resin waste.

Bantugon's Pili Seal will advance to the international stage of the prestigious James Dyson Award, "an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers." 

If he wins the international competition, Bantugon will receive prize money worth P1.9 million ($38,000) and an additional P320,000 ($6,410) for his university. 

The international Top 20 shortlist will be revealed In October, while the international winners will be awarded in November.

Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.

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