Last year, Carvey Ehren Maigue, a student at Mapua University Manila, was named the first ever winner of the James Dyson Award for Global Sustainability.
His invention? A system that transforms rotten fruits and veggies into renewable electricity.
The system is called AuREUS (inspired by the Northern Lights) and it effectively absorbs UV light from the sun and converts it into electricity. It’s mostly made for walls and windows and, unlike solar panels, it doesn’t need heat from the sun to function well.
AuREUS uses particles derived from wasted crop, like rotten fruits and veggies, and suspends them in a resin substrate. Once sunlight hits these particles, they start to absorb and emit light along the edges. Afterwards, the light is captured and then turned into electricity.
The James Dyson Award is an international design award that celebrates and encourages young engineers and scientists.
Maigue beat out over 1,800 other entries from 27 countries, even getting acknowledged by James Dyson himself. The entrepreneur said this of Maigue’s unique invention: “AuREUS is impressive in the way it makes sustainable use of waste crops, but I’m particularly impressed by Carvey’s resolve and determination.”
“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 won $39,972 (roughly P2M) as part of the prize money.
On his achievement, the 27-year old inventor said, “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.”
He also expressed his desire to deliver more eco-friendly, “green” energy. He said, “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.”