Engr. Christopher S. Pascual, a faculty researcher from the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, College of Engineering (CEn) has been awarded first prize for Outstanding Industrial Design during the 2021 Regional Invention Contest and Exhibits (RICE) Banghay Award held virtually last November 24-26, 2021.
Engr. Pascual’s winning entry was his industrial designed technology called "ground heat exchanger (GHE) system for aeroponics" an energy saving innovation that uses temperature of the soil to manage plant environment.
With this technology, a GHE system is being installed in the greenhouse for root-zone cooling of aeroponically grown crops. It addresses the need for a sustainable and economically viable alternative cooling system in producing high-quality crops under hot weather conditions. The GHE system in aeroponics has been successfully applied in vertically grown crops such as strawberries and other leafy vegetables in CLSU.
On the other hand, the Philippine Rice Research Institute is currently adopting the technology as a component of the Palayamanan modernized farming model. Also, the DOST-Region 3 and the local government of Bulakan, Bulacan, have forged an agreement with CLSU to establish a vertical garden using an aeroponics and GHE system in six selected sites. With this, the site in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija will be launched on December 22, 2021.
“I am happy that my research on the GHE system in aeroponics is now being adopted in our locality. It has always been a dream for any researcher to translate research results into something tangible and valuable in the farming community,” Engr. Pascual said. He also added that “Using this technology, even with limited space, we can now grow more vegetables all-year-round.” Engr. Pascual’s industrial design will be the entry of Central Luzon or Region 3 for the National Invention Contest and Exhibits (NICE) in 2022 Banghay Award Category.
The RICE and NICE competitions are organized by the Technology Application and Promotion Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-TAPI) to recognize the country's best and brightest local trailblazers.