TWO RESEARCH PROJECTS UNDER THE MECO-TECO PROGRAM OF DOST-PCIEERD
One of the many collaborations of Malayan Colleges Laguna is a research and development project conducted under the MECO-TECO program. The Manila Economic and Cultural Office – Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (MECO-TECO) is an alliance between the Philippines and Taiwan that aims to boost development by formulating and implementing programs to promote investments and cooperation in many types of industries, especially in manufacturing, tourism, construction, and other business areas.
MCL conducted two research projects under the funding support and supervision of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).
The first project, entitled “Forward Osmosis System using locally-made membrane from Nata-De-Coco for the Production of Rehydration Water and Application for Desalination” was conducted from April 2017 to March 2018. The project was led by MCL’s former Research Director Dr. Liza B. Patacsil with the help of two researchers, Dr. Arnel B. Beltran from the Department of Chemical Engineering in De la Salle University (Manila) and Dr. Mayzonee V. Ligaray from Malayan Colleges Laguna.
Dr. Patacsil explains her study in simple terms: “Nata-de-coco is famous in the Philippines as a delightful, sweet dessert. It is a product of fermentation by Acetobacter xylinum, which is a bacterial cellulose (BC). Though nata became popular in the food industry, it was also found with various applications in other fields. To name a few, it was used as a wound dressings system; carrier support for probiotic; active packaging; acts as an alternative material for plant cellulose in various industrial applications; and has shown potential in the medical and biomedical applications. The idea of using nata-de-coco (NDC) as a membrane for desalination is due to its ultrafine nanofiber network structure, high tensile strength, moldability, and ability as separation membrane. Nata-de-coco has been modified in order to be compatible to the process. Cross-linking was done in order to form weaves from its nanofiber network structure. The surface modification of NDC film was then evaluated by comparing the water fluxes and salt rejections using two draw solutions, sucrose and magnesium chloride. This study employed FO system as a desalination technique in the Philippine setting.”
The results of the study were presented in the following international conferences: (1) International Conference on Sustainable Environmental Technologies (ICSET) 2018, which was accepted and recommended for publication in participating Scopus Journal; (2) Regional Symposium on Chemical Engineering (RSCE) 2018 conducted in the Philippines; and (3) International Conference on Environment (ICENV) 2018 conducted at Penang, Malaysia.
The study’s published paper can be viewed here.
For the second project, Dr. Liza B. Patacsil from MCL spearheaded the research study. Part of her team were research associates Dr. Nolan Tolosa, Bryan De Guzman, and John Paolo Lazarte. A professor from National Chiao-Tung University (NCTU) in Taiwan, Prof. Ruey-an Doong also participated in the project as a principal investigator.
The completed DOST-GIA project was entitled, “Synergistic Effect of Forward Osmosis and Capacitive Deionization on Water Purification and Recovery”. The duration of the project was 2 years and 4 months.
According to Dr. Patacsil, the study focused on the treatment of pollutants found in industrial wastewater such as heavy metals like copper, lead and zinc using novel hybrid forward osmosis-capacitive deionization (FO-CDI) system to remove heavy metals from wastewater and produce effluent acceptable for discharge to Class C water bodies.
The results of the study were presented in the International Conference on Environment (ICENV) 2018, Penang, Malaysia (Dec. 11-13, 2018).