Ateneo students invent device for harnessing energy from road humps

Declared winners of international energy-management contest
by Vernon B. Sarne | Jul 25, 2013


We will bet you the monetary equivalent of our yearly electric bill that you\'ve heard of the name Janet Lim-Napoles but not of Alyssa Tricia Eloise Vintola and Lorenz Ray Payonga. Because let\'s face it: It\'s more fun to curse to high heavens talking about the supposed accomplice of senators in funneling their pork barrel, than to celebrate two Ateneo de Manila University students who merely won a global energy-management competition by inventing a device that harnesses electrical energy from road humps.

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Vintola and Payonga, graduating Electronics and Communications Engineering students at ADMU, joined this year\'s \"Go Green in the City\" contest, which challenged schools around the world \"to design energy solutions that can be adopted to address the issue of increasing energy demand.\" The competition was organized by Schneider Electric, which identifies itself as a \"global specialist in energy management.\"

The Filipino pair entered the contest with a device they called the \"Oscillohump,\" which apparently can collect energy from humps via electromagnetic induction. The concept sounds simple: When cars go over a hump equipped with the Oscillohump, they will press springs which in turn will \"plunge magnets into solenoids.\" This, the Ateneo students were able to show, can generate electricity.

Through their research, Vintola and Payonga determined that it takes 20 vehicles going over the same spot on the hump to produce 5W of energy. By spreading these energy-generating panels across the hump, the process can yield enough energy to power LED street lamps, traffic lights and CCTV cameras. Not bad, especially considering that every other corner in Metro Manila is unlit and has busted traffic lights.

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The two gave their project a catchy tagline: \"The power of driving through.\"

Now, you would think an idea as brilliant as this--which, by the way, dawned on the ADMU pair just a week before the deadline for submission of Philippine entries--was a shoo-in to win the eco-themed competition. Wrong. Unlike unprincipled politicians who are aided left and right by equally depraved minions in carrying out their nefarious schemes, Vintola and Payonga had to go through the tiniest of slivers just to earn the chance to show off their contraption on a global stage.

First, they had to beat fellow finalists from the University of the Philippines and Adamson University in the national phase. After dispatching their compatriots, they advanced to the East Asia round on May 14-17 in Jakarta, where teams from Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan awaited them. They topped this round, too, eventually proceeding to the global finals on June 26-29 in Paris, where they tussled with teams from Canada, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and France.

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Yep, Vintola and Payonga competed with the world\'s brightest technological minds in their age group--and outshone them all.

Let that sink in a little bit deeper: Two Ateneo engineering students just came up with this year\'s best energy-management the whole world. If our government plays its cards right, they will summon these kids and find out how the Oscillohump can become a real-world energy solution. A country now grappling with an overpopulation of motor vehicles could certainly use something like this.

But no, Malacañang will likely blow this opportunity. Because as we write this, it\'s too busy doling out bigger pork barrels to the suit-wearing and gown-clad swine.



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