SOTECH’s alcohol hand rub project awarded UP Gawad Pangulo for Excellence in Public Service

SOTECH’s alcohol hand rub project awarded UP Gawad Pangulo for Excellence in Public Service

The University of the Philippines Visayas College School of Technology was given the Gawad Pangulo Award for Excellence in Public Service for the project: Production of ethanol-based hand rub for frontline workers. The award was given on December 16, 2021, in a virtual ceremony organized by the University of the Philippines.  SOTECH was awarded for its exemplary and innovative work that contributed to the fulfillment of UPs Mandate to lead as a public service university and to the nation’s response to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hand-rub alcohol is one of the primarily recommended protection by health experts to combat the virus. When Covid-19 hit the country in 2020, there was a shortage of available hand-rub alcohol in Western Visayas. In response to this, in April 2020, the Chemical Engineering faculty and staff of the School of Technology worked together to develop a low-cost ethanol production plant to produce ethanol-based hand rub for distribution to the immediate communities, including the UPV community, Miagao, and other LGU’s, and the Iloilo Province.

The expertise of the Chemical Engineering faculty was utilized to produce alcohol by fermentation of molasses which were waste materials from sugarcanes. Their plant and equipment design expertise to fabricate the necessary equipment using available materials was also very helpful. The project was located in the two-story Unit Operations Laboratory of the School of Technology building.

Leader of the Public Service Initiative: Engr. Ramer P. Bautista, Ph.D. with the following team members Engr. Juniper V. Magallanes - lead in molasses fermentation and distillation; Engr. Jeraldine D. Calangi - assistant in molasses fermentation and distillation; Mr. Tomas P. Momville, Jr. - assistant in equipment fabrication; Engr. Francis Eric P. Almaquer - lead in hand rub formulation; and Mr. John Paul U. Fornillos, and student volunteer.

The team was assisted and supported by UPV administration, UPV Covid Task Force Donation Group, various UPV alumni, and private companies and individuals. At the end of the four-month duration of the project, 575.45 L of ethanol-based hand rubs were produced and donated to the primary beneficiaries, including the UPV community (Offices, Infirmary, Security Service Force, Library); Miagao and other LGU’s, checkpoints, church, and Iloilo Province through the Governor’s Office.

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