Category Archives: Science, Health, and Technology

DLSU Pursues the Dream of Renewable Energy–With Cars!

Solar Car Going Out

The question concerning fossil fuels is that of “when” rather than “if” the world’s reserves will finally run out. In 2007, De La Salle University wanted to be the first educational institution in the country to take a stab at the matter by developing the Philippines’ first solar car: the Sinag or “Sunray” in English. In the words of Engr. Jack Catalan, Electronics and Communications Engineering Department faculty and Electrical System adviser: “The Solar Car Project is a venue to demonstrate that we, as Filipinos and as Lasallians, can make a mark in this field.” To that end, faculty and students from both the Mechanical Engineering and the Electronics and Communications Engineering departments in partnership with Ford Group Philippines, San Miguel Corporation, Motolite, Shell, Sunpower, Philippine Airlines, and Ventus pooled gray matter and resources and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Tech specs

The Sinag sports some very non-pedestrian materials. The car’s frame is composed of carbon fiber and nomex, lightweight but durable materials that can be found in Formula One cars and the suit of a certain pointy-eared superhero with a taste for the theatrical. Sunpower, a local manufacturer of solar panels known for their efficiency, was also sourced for another key performance element. The car itself weighs in at a trim 295 kilograms or, to put things in perspective, a fifth of what a typical sedan would weigh. So yes, the Sinag is a very interesting piece of technological kit whose every inch, nook, and cranny screams clean propulsion. Tech and performance metrics aside, you arrive at a certain quandary. What do you do with the product of so much man-hours, blood, sweat, and tears? Hold a press event and call it a day?

Not quite.

A proper, self-respecting gear head would test their creation and would probably want to see how it fares when pitted against what the other guys did. Yes sir, a proper engineering fiend would race their car—in a grueling 3,000 km race against 40 other like-minded fellows and their creations. And yes, the Sinag team did just that by joining a biennial race that highlights advances in automotive technologies and promotes alternative vehicle engines: the World Solar Challenge (WSC) in 2007.

Faculty and Student

Passion…and a lot of elbow grease

It’s easy to imagine a dedicated team milling about in a workshop in a project such as the Sinag. It’s also easy to imagine these bright fellows spending their days just tooling over and immersing themselves in the solar car project, but for the twenty member core group comprised of both faculty and students of De La Salle University, the Sinag was a real, honest to goodness passion project conceived and executed in their spare time and within a mere seven months. The Sinag team had to literally balance personal and academic responsibilities with their time on the solar car. Even with such a balancing act, the team had achieved amazing results in their spare time and the proof was very much in the pudding: Sinag qualified for the WSC which is no easy feat by passing the Scrutineering and Qualifying events. More amazing still, Sinag’s performance in the actual race was exceptional placing 12th among 20 teams, ahead of teams from Canada and France, and finishing a day before the race’s cut-off date.

No one-hit wonder

After the Sinag, De La Salle University’s team of faculty and students weren’t quite done with solar cars. Sikat followed Sinag and was used a testbed for technologies that would later be implemented in Sikat II and Sikat II-A. The Sikat II-A is the fourth version of the Sinag and sports a number of improvements over its predecessors. Compared to Sinag, Sikat II-A takes an even sleeker, more aerodynamic form. Additionally, Sikat II-A has an average speed of 80 kph and a maximum speed of 110 kph. The Sunpower Silicon C60 solar cells used in the car are rated at 22% efficiency and outputs 1300 watts of power. Improvements were also made to the battery management system, telemetry, wiring, cruise control, brakes, and suspension system. Sikat II even makes use of Schwalbe Sleek tires. The end result of all these improvements and engineering work enabled Sikat II-A to place first in the pre-race qualifying round and third in the 2013 World Solar Challenge Adventure Class. In total, Sikat traveled 2,487 “solar kilometers,” the car’s mileage on solar energy, ahead of entries from Hong Kong, Turkey, the USA, and Japan.

Side Shot

Beyond the race

The successes made by the Sinag and Sikat teams in the arena of solar car racing illumine the wonderful possibilities of alternative and renewable energy-based transportation in the country. It also clarifies a few things about the capabilities of our people. Filipinos have the means and the know-how and producing vehicles such as Sinag and related technologies are very much within our grasp–if we as a nation so desire it. Moreover, our local talents and our ingenuity are competitive with our brethren across the globe and we can achieve our designs at a fraction of the cost of competing products. Sikat II for instance took 7 million pesos to manufacture while those from other countries would cost, on the average, at least $600,000. On a more immediate note, Engr. Catalan points out that the experiences and know-how gained from the Solar Car Project can be used in the production of electrical cars. “This is a direct application of the Solar Car Project. There are a lot of electrical components that we can adopt into an application involving electric vehicles. This is green technology that is expected to be part of the future.” As inspiring as these technical achievements are and its import on the capabilities of our country, Bro. Ricky Laguda, DLSU president and chancellor, best encapsulates what the Sinag and Sikat teams have achieved by stating that, “…Filipino students are capable of producing solutions to our current concerns in renewable energy and long-term sustainability of our planet.” Building cars with an eye towards the future indeed.

Workshop: Publishing in High Impact Academic Journals by Prof. Stephen Hetherington | October 25, 2013

THE COLLEGE OF Liberal Arts and the University Research Coordination Office cordially invite everyone to a Workshop on PUBLISHING IN HIGH IMPACT ACADEMIC JOURNALS by Prof. Stephen Hetherington (Visiting Professor, University of South Wales) on October 25, 2013 (Friday) at 10:30 am-12:00 nn at the Yuchengco 508 Seminar Room.

Workshop Description:

This workshop is an open discussion of the niceties of publishing in high impact academic journals. It comprises of two parts: (1) a discussion by Professor Stephen Hetherington (incoming editor of Australasian Journal of Philosophy) and (2) Open Forum.

DLSU partners with Human Factors International for usability training and consulting for Philippine Companies

THE HUMAN FACTORS and Ergonomics Center of De La Salle University under the Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE) partnered with Human Factors International (HFI) in providing usability training and consulting to companies in the Philippines.

HFI well known for its “Certified Usability Analyst (CUA)” course and is the world’s largest company specializing in user-centered design. It offers a wide range of public and onsite training and certification in user-centered design – teaching practical skills to ensure usability in Web sites and applications.

2nd Annual Pillar of Lasallian Excellence Awards | October 1, 2013

AS A HIGHLIGHT of the celebration of National Teachers Month, all teaching and non-teaching faculty members are enjoined to participate in the Annual Pillar of Lasallian Excellence Awards on October 1, 2013 (Tuesday), 3:00 – 4:30 pm, at the Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium.

Faculty members with outstanding contributions for their teaching, research, or community engagement activities will be recognized during the program.

Departments that have performed well in research, attendance, and student evaluation will also be honored. Likewise, the winner of the Students’ Search for Outstanding Teachers will be named on the said event.

To encourage more faculty to attend the recognition program, it has been recommended by the organizing committee to suspend classes from 2:40 to 5:50pm.

For the confirmation of attendance and for other inquiries, contact Mark Joel Mapoy at loc. 281 or email

Malacañang declares September as Development Policy Research Month

PER MALACAÑANG PROCLAMATION No. 247 dated September 02, 2002, the month of September of every year is declared as Development Policy Research Month (DPRM) to provide a means of promoting and drawing nationwide awareness on the importance of policy research in national development.

In light of this proclamation, the DLSU-Angelo King Institute for Economic and Business Studies is pleased to inform you that the celebration of the 11t h DEVELOPMENT POLICY RESEARCH MONTH with the theme “Making Health More Inclusive in a Growing Economy” is underway.

A Lecture on Alzheimer’s Disease by Angelyn Lao | August 29, 2013

THE MATHEMATICS DEPARTMENT cordially invites everyone to a seminar-lecture on Bioinformatics entitled, “A Systems Biology Approach to Understand the Influence of SORLA on Amyloidogenic Processing in Alzheimer’s Disease” by Angelyn Lao. This will be held on August 29, 2013 (Thursday) at 4:20-5:50pm, Room SJ504. 


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by amyloid plaques in the brain of affected individuals. Our study aims at (i) modeling the interactome of neuronal factors central to the proteolytic processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) and (ii) evaluating the influence of a sorting receptor-related protein, SORLA, an inhibitor of APP processing and important genetic risk factor. Based on a panel of cell lines in which the amount of APP and of accessory factors can be varied, we have established a model, based on nonlinear Ordinary Differential Equations (ODE), describing the kinetics of APP processing and the influence of SORLA on the processing. The parameter values of the simplified ODE model are estimated by optimization from dose-response series for sAPPα and sAPPβ as a function of total amount of APP for cells with or without SORLA. We have systematically compared the goodness of fit of (a) model with only monomer processing, (b) model with only dimer processing, and (c) combined model with both monomer and dimer processing, on a series of dose-response data. The complexity of data and model made it necessary to also consider partial local parameter estimations in able to capture the dynamical behavior of the experimental data. The simulations, together with our experimental data, support a model whereby SORLA prevents APP oligomerization, thereby causing secretases to switch from allosteric to non-allosteric mode of action. This raises the interesting question of what the relative contribution of SORLA in each APP processing step is and how this affects the β-secretase? To answer this question, we have developed a multi-compartment model to simulate the complexity of APP processing in neurons, and to accurately describe the effects of SORLA on these processes. Based on the same dose-response data, our study concludes that SORLA specifically impairs processing of APP dimer, which is the preferred secretase substrate. Furthermore, our multi-compartment model shows how SORLA alters the dynamical behavior of β-secretase, the enzyme responsible for the initial step in the amyloidogenic processing cascade. Our multi-compartment model represents a major conceptual advance over single-compartment models previously used to simulate APP processing; and it identified APP dimers and β-secretase as the two distinct targets of the inhibitory action of SORLA in AD.

DLSU’s Improved Sikat II to compete in 26th World Solar Challenge

All photos courtesy of Agnes Tan Jaiphen

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – SIKAT II was launched at its send-off as the country’s official participant to the 2013 World Solar Challenge, which will be held this October at Darwin, Australia.

The team is comprised of 50 mechanical and electrical engineering students plus six faculty members from De La Salle University. Additional improvements, which took a grueling seven months to complete, were applied to Sikat II. The vehicle was subject to test runs at Basa Airbase and SCTEX to ensure optimum performance.

DLSU students bag prize at 2013 Shell Eco Marathon Asia

Sepang, Malaysia – The De La Salle University Eco-car team was given the Communications Award at this year’s Shell Eco Marathon.

Among 130 hopefuls from Asia and the Middle East, only 9 teams were chosen for the finals. Awards are categorized into On-Track and Off-Track divisions. Off-Track awards are valued at USD 3,300 each.

Shell Eco marathon officials lauded the team for its creativity and efficacy in creating public awareness that helped gain a strong footprint in educational institutions as well as industry bodies. 

Research Program Workshop Lecture Series by Dr. Alfredo Paloyo | August 14 & 16, 2013

The School of Economics, in cooperation with the University Research Coordination Office, cordially invites everyone to the Research Program Workshop Lecture Series by Dr. Alfredo Paloyo entitled, “Experimental and non-experimental approaches to impact evaluation for evidence-based decision-making.”

Part 1: “Using Randomized Controlled Trials to Evaluate Interventions and Improve Policy” will be held on August 14 2013 (Wednesday), 1:00 pm-3:00 pm at Rooms Y507 & Y508.

New Scholarship Grants from the Embassy of the Czech Republic

THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER would like to announce the notification issued by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila of the New Scholarships for the Czech Universities. The new Czech Republic Government Scholarships will be focused on the fields of: Economics, Ecology, Energetics, Transport Engineering and technical fields in general.

Details and application forms can be viewed and downloaded here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...