Filipino student takes home int’l award for sustainable invention

Carvey Ehren Maigue | Photo courtesy of James Dyson Foundation

FILIPINO student Carvey Ehren Maigue on Thursday, November 19, bagged the first-ever sustainability prize at the James Dyson Award for his invention.

The 27-year-old electrical engineering student from Mapua University in Manila triumphed from more than 1,800 entries worldwide with the AuREUS System Technology — a new material, made from rotting fruits and vegetables, which converts UV light into renewable energy.

AuREUS 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. It can also function fully even when not in direct sunlight.

AuREUS uses waste crops | Photo courtesy of James Dyson Foundation

According to Maigue, his invention was inspired by the science behind the northern lights.

He first submitted his idea to the James Dyson Award in 2018, but did not progress to the Awarding stages of the competition. The loss didn’t deter him from improving his idea until renowned inventor James Dyson handpicked him to be the first-ever global Sustainability winner at this year’s James Dyson Award.

“AuREUS is impressive in the way it makes sustainable use of waste crops, but I’m particularly impressed by Carvey’s resolve and determination. Having failed to make the national stage of the Award in 2018, he stuck at it and further developed his idea — this will be a very important character trait as he embarks on the long road to commercialisation,” said Dyson in an interview on its site.

“I wish him every success because, as a farmer, I have always been concerned about covering fertile, food-producing, agricultural land in photovoltaic cells. Carvey’s invention demonstrates a convincing way to create clean energy on existing structures, like windows, within cities,” he added.

Maigue received £30,000 (around ₱1.9 million) as part of his prize.

“Winning the James Dyson Award is both a beginning and an end. It marked the end of years of doubting whether my idea would find global relevance. It marks the beginning of the journey of finally bringing AuREUS to the world,” said Maigue.

“I want to create a better form of renewable energy that uses the world’s natural resources, is close to people’s lives, forging achievable paths and rallying towards a sustainable and regenerative future,” he added.

The James Dyson Award (JDA) is an annual international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers.

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