Sustainable sealant made from pili tree waste wins James Dyson Award 2021 in PH

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The aircraft industry has been using a polysulfide-based sealant for over 50 years. While effective, the said sealant can be unsafe and toxic to those who apply it.

Using knowledge from his education, Mark Kennedy Bantugon, a degree holder of BS in Aeronautical Engineering at the Philippine State College of Aeronautics, came up with a sustainable sealant made from resin waste of pili trees.

Bantugon’s Pili Seal was named 2021 National Winner of the Philippines James Dyson Award. This sealant, designed for aircraft integral fuel tank to prevent fuel leakages, is made from the waste of Pili Tree Resin, otherwise known as “spent resin” or “de-oiled resin.”

Pili Seal is a two-component sealant. The waste of Pili Tree Resin acts as the base material for aircraft integral fuel tank sealant production. Through the mixing of the base and a hardener material, the sealant can properly function as a sealing material and is applicable for aircraft parts such as the integral fuel tank and components that are subjected to contact with aircraft fuels, lubricants, oils, water, and weathering.

Aside from aeronautics, Bantugon aims to further study and maximize the application of Pili Seal to other relevant industries such as land & water transportation, construction, buildings, wood or in metal sheet roof application. He plans to use this innovation as a gateway to locally develop aviation sealants in the Philippines. Bantugon, a son of a farmer, also hopes to establish an ecosystem to help local Filipino farmers generate income opportunities based on upcycling and utilizing resin waste of Pili Trees.

“I was struck by the lack of options to effective and sustainably produced sealants in the aviation industry and thought there should be a way around,” said Bantugon. “Pili Seal pioneers the study of upcycling waste materials for production of aviation sealant. Through my invention, I hope to inject a new perspective that beneficial and sustainable usage can be found from waste materials. I hope this will inspire greater innovation in global aviation, while empowering the livelihoods of local Filipino farmers through new streams of income.”

ReConnect, a portable and compact device that temporarily restores internet connectivity in disaster-stricken areas, and Non-invasive Bacteria Detector on Wounds, a portable, sensor-based device that detects gas emitted by an open wound through an electrochemical gas sensor, were named runners-up.

Pili Seal, ReConnect, and Non-invasive Bacteria Detector on Wounds will progress to the international stage of the James Dyson Award. International Top 20 shortlist and international winners will be announced on October 13 and November 17 respectively.

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