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Two DOST-FPRDI engineers who recently completed their MS degrees had obtained encouraging research results from their respective theses.

Engr. Rogelio O. Rantael of the Bio-Energy and Equipment Development Section (BEEDS) studied the invasive plant species, spiked pepper (Piper aduncum L.), as a possible material for renewable energy.

According to Engr. Rantael, “It is important to find uses for seriously invasive plants like spiked pepper because they are ecological pests that destroy the natural ecosystem of areas where they grow. My study – which is a first attempt - showed that it is technically, financially and environmentally sound to turn spiked pepper wood into biomass fuel thru the process of gasification. The fuel produced can be used to supply electricity to remote communities in the country.”

Engr. Gil B. Sapin, on the other hand, studied if a waste material, the peduncle of dried saba banana (Musa paradiciaca), could be made into a composite panel. (Peduncle refers to the main stalk which holds the banana bunch to the plant). After upgrading the strength and thermal properties of the peduncle fibers, he was able to come up with boards that – with some more improvement - may be used as thermal insulation panels for the construction industry.

Engr. Rantael finished his MS in Chemical Engineering in UP Los Banos, while Engr. Sapin received his MS in Material Science and Engineering from UP Diliman. Likewise, another DOST-FPRDI researcher, Ms. Rowena E. Ramos, completed her MS in Molecular Biology at UP Los Banos. (Rizalina K. Araral, August 18, 2017)

The DOST- Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) joined the science community in celebrating this year’s National Science and Technology Week (NSTW). Among the featured FPRDI technologies were the bamboo hot press machine and some furniture pieces made from old rubberwood trees.

Photo by Kathleen Joy Bitao

The FPRDI-developed hot press machine (photo above) drastically cuts the production time of engineered bamboo from 6-8 hours to just 8-10 minutes.

After decades of depending on imported fibers, the Philippines may soon be able to make its own paper money using locally available plant materials. This, as researchers at the DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) recently developed quality currency base paper (cbp) from combining the fibers of abaca (Musa textilis), salago (Wikstroemia spp.) and mangium (Acacia mangium).

“Our banknote or paper money is printed on imported cbp made from 20% abaca and 80% cotton. With our promising research result, however, we are planning to team up with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to make Philippine banknotes using 100% locally available fibers,” said Ms. Adela S. Torres of FPRDI’s Pulp and Paper Products Development section.

“Fibers from abaca and salago, and wood chips from mangium were cooked, bleached, and formed into sample cbp at the FPRDI Pulp and Paper Testing Laboratory. Tests showed that its folding endurance is similar to that of imported currency base paper. It was also found to be tear resistant,” explained Torres.