All-women engineering team from Philippines win UNESCO hackathon with their clean water solution

AllgirlteamfromPH
  • Wonderpets, an all-female team consisting of Reaner Jacqueline Bool, Ghia Luwalhati and Nicole Elizabeth Tan from Batangas State University in the Philippines, won the top prize at UNESCO’s 2022 World Engineering Day Hackathon.
  • Involving 125 teams from 23 countries, the international contest called for young engineers to develop creative solutions to UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) challenges.
  • For their winning entry, the Filipino trio used crystalline materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to turn polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles into effective water purifiers.

An all-women team from the Philippines beat 124 other teams from around the world to win the top prize at UNESCO’s 2022 World Engineering Day Hackathon. 

The international contest was part of this year’s World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development, which was declared by UNESCO in 2019 and first celebrated in 2020.

The hackathon called for young engineers to develop creative solutions to three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) challenges: responsible and innovative use of materials and reduction of non-biodegradable waste, biomimicry in engineering solutions and water accessibility in a changing climate.

Wonderpets, consisting of Reaner Jacqueline Bool, Ghia Luwalhati and Nicole Elizabeth Tan from Batangas State University in the Philippines, ultimately won the top prize for their solution to reduce water pollution. Their team name was derived from their project called “Water remediatiON using metal-organic framework DERived from PET bottleS.”

For their contest entry, the team used crystalline materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to turn polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles into effective water purifiers. The bottles, which become porous, are able to extract pollutants found in water. 

Wonderpets’ video pitch was one of the nine finalist videos showcased during a 24-hour livestreaming event by UNESCO on March 4.

The group explained in their video that MOFs have a “breathing ability which allows them to host guest molecules and push them out once external stimuli are applied. This ability allows it to remove a large amount of pollutants and to be regenerated and reused, making it sustainable for water treatment.”

“With its novelty, its raw materials and production process still need improvement,” the group declared. “How do we aim to address this? By recycling plastic bottles.”

Through their sustainable solution, Wonderpets has provided a way to potentially both reduce plastic pollution and produce clean water.

 

Featured Image via World Engineering Day

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