Filipino students shine in technology competition

Filipino students have found a venue to display their problem-solving skills and technology know-how at a global level.

A recent streak of big wins at an annual global competition that promotes energy-efficient cities makes executives of Schneider Electric confident that the Philippines will replicate the feat this year.

“Schneider Electric is always on the lookout for top, world-class talents,” Tes Portillo, the country human resources director of Schneider Electric Philippines says in a news briefing in Makati City.  “The Philippines is rich in talents.”

Schneider Electric, a French energy management company, organizes the annual Go Green in the City, a global business case challenge focusing on innovative energy solutions for smart cities.  Filipino students have presented inspiring innovative solutions to produce energy, which garnered top awards in the international competition twice in the past three years.

Tes Portillo, the country human resources director of Schneider Electric Philippines
Portillo says through the competition, Schneider Electric has discovered outstanding Filipino talents who presented innovations such as an electricity-generating water filter and power-generating road humps.  The young inventors of these technologies are now working for the company, she says.

“Go Green in the City is the platform to do just that.  It is a business case challenge venue, targeting business and engineering students which aims to generate innovative energy management solutions in order to create smart cities,” says Portillo.

Schneider Electric has recently launched Go Green in the City 2016, which starts with a national competition.

Portillo says from Jan. 15 to April 15, business and engineering (Bachelor, Master’s or MBA) students from all over the country are welcomed to join the challenge. 

Under the challenge, teams of two (one male and one female member) are encouraged to submit a case study illustrating their ideas for innovative energy management solutions in cities for one of the five basic business challenge topics.

Ateneo de Manila University students Alyssa Tricia Eloise Vintola and Lorenz Ray Payonga won the grand prize in the global competition in 2013 with their Oscillohump, a device that absorbs and stores energy generated from cars going through speedbumps.

Last year, John Paul Santos and Christian Sta. Romana of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines grabbed the third prize of the global competition with their Electrifilter project, which generates electricity as it cleanses waste water.

More than 12,800 students from 168 countries participated in the 2015 edition of Go Green in the City, which aims to educate young generations and build awareness about the need for smart energy management for sustainable cities.

PUP students John Paul Santos and Christian Sta. Romana
Santos, who graduated last year, is now working for Schneider Electric along with Vintola and Payonga.  Sta. Romana is still studying at PUP.

Santos says he developed the idea for Electrifilter as a student who is exposed daily to the smell of Pasig River. Sensing the need for water treatment, he and Sta. Romana though about a device that can cleanse waste water and produce electricity at the same time.

After winning the third prize in Paris last year, Santos joined Schneider Electric as an engineer while continuing to improve his invention, particularly the chemical reaction process that produces electricity.

“The youth are now more aware and involved with ecological and energy issues, so we know that most will have great ideas to address them,” says Claude Mazallon, Schneider Electric Philippines country president. “Through [Go Green in the City], we want to give those ideas a venue where they could be developed, and hopefully, realized.”

Winners of the national competition will participate in the regional challenge, competing with other Asian countries.  The semi-finalist teams will have two months to work with a mentor from Schneider Electric in order to create a synopsis and a video presentation of their idea. The 12 best teams will be announced on July 15, 2016, and will go to Paris on Sept.19 to 22 to compete in the grand final. 

“The winning team will travel the world, VIP-style, with Schneider Electric, visiting facilities, networking with employees and high-level management. They will also be offered jobs with Schneider Electric in their home countries,” the company says.

Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management and automated systems, with 170,000 employees in more than 100 countries.  Its services and products range from the simplest switches to the most complex operating systems, technologies, software and services.

Portillo says many Filipinos are employed by Schneider Electric not only in the Philippines but also in other countries.  “In Schneider Electric, we have Filipinos in other parts of the globe as well. We also send people abroad for overseas assignment,” she says.

“We have a lot of talents all over the world.  Clearly, overseas Filipino workers are all over the world. If we are only able to bring them back, the amount of knowledge they can bring back to their home country will be amazing,” she says.

Topics: Schneider Electric , technology competition
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