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PhilRice won major awards in the 64th Philippine Society of Agricultural Engineers (PSAE) Annual National Convention and 11th International Agricultural Engineering Conference and Exhibition held at the Visayas State University, Baybay City, Leyte, April 21-26.

Five of nine PhilRice technical papers that joined the oral presentation category won awards. Alexis Belonio and co-authors` Development of a Hydrous Ethanol Fuel Feeding Device for Spark – Ignition Engine won as Best Paper in the Agricultural Power and Energy Source Category.

Belonio`s study established that hydrous ethanol can be fueled by spark-ignition engines without blending with gasoline. This was conducted to develop a technology for hydrous bioethanol fuel as a cheaper source of fuel opposed to gasoline.

Paulino Ramos and Dr. Manuel Jose Regalado`s No-Tillage System for Higher Yield and Labor Productivity, Reduced Production Cost, and Higher Energy Efficiency in Rainfed Lowland Rice won Second Best Paper in the Production Machinery and Mechanization Category. This tested the performance of the no-tillage technique originally developed for irrigated ecosystem under rainfed conditions.

Dr. Caesar JoventinoTado and co-authors` Development and Promotion of the Reversible Airflow Flatbed Dryer in the Philippines (Postharvest Equipment and Machinery Category) won as Third Best Paper. The flatbed dryer was introduced in the Philippines through a collaborative project between Nong Lam University of Vietnam and the PhilRice. The University of the Philippines in Los Baños designed the machine`s “earliest and simplest commercial drying technology.”

Another Third Best Paper is Dr. Ricardo Orge and Engr. John Eric Abon`s Cogeneration of Biochar and Heat from Rice Hull: Its Application in the Poultry Industry (Agricultural Power and Energy Sources Category).”

The study showed that CtRH carbonizer, with heat recovery attachment, can substitute the existing LPG heater to provide the needed heat for brooding chicks, saving up to six tanks of LPG for every heater replaced.

Noel Ganotisi and co-authors` Design and Development of a Low-Cost Venturi-Type Fertigation Component of a Gravity-Type Drip Irrigation System (Soil & Water and Fishery Engineering Category) won Third Best Paper Award.

This showed how fertigation helps reduce the cost of fertilizer application. Fertigation is to be incorporated in the Low-Cost Drip Irrigation System (LDIS).

In the poster competition, three of 15 PhilRice entries were runners-up. Paulino Ramos and co-authors` Rice Hull Gasification System for 100kW Electric Power Generation, showed that rice hull produced during the rice milling operation could be used as fuel for gasifier to produce electricity.

Results had it that 25 bags of rice hull at 10-12 kg per bag can run the 8-cylinder gasoline engine with 100-Kw generator for 2.22 hours.  The 100-kW electricity is enough to supply power demand for a 30-Kw submersible pump, while excess production may be used for lighting.

Alexis Belonio and co-authors` Design and Performance Evaluation of a RiceHusk-Fueled Crude Bioethanol Distiller for Fermented Nipa Sap” explored hydrous bioethanol production from nipa sap to reduce dependence on fossil fuel for rice farming operations.

Dr. Regalado and Paulino Ramos` No-Tillage System for Higher Yield and Labor Productivity, Reduced Production Cost, and Higher Energy Efficiency in Rainfed Lowland Rice” showed that the system combined with transplanting can also improve labor productivity by 12-17 percent and energy efficiency by 15-18 percent in rainfed lowland rice culture.

PhilRice consultant Dr. Bernardo Tadeo was awarded the Most Outstanding Agricultural Engineer or the Felix Maramba Award, and Noel Ganotisi received the Outstanding Agricultural Engineer Award for Irrigation, Soil, and Water Management.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute