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This Pinoy-Made Sealant Created From Spent Pili Resin Is Strong Enough to Be Used on Planes

It's a new invention that will be competing on the world stage!

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Photography: Courtesy of Mark Kennedy Bantugon/James Dyson Award

Pili is a native, edible nut that has a lot of uses—you may have even come across it in skincare products, too. For the country's James Dyson Award National Winner Mark Kennedy Bantugon, its tree also creates a natural product that that can take the skies. 

“I was struck by the lack of options and sustainably-produced sealants in the aviation industry” says Mark, who has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Using spent pili tree resin as his base, he created Pili Seal, a two-component sealant which is a non-toxic alternative to the commonly used products on aircraft integral fuel tanks today. The product faced a battery of tests to make sure that it holds even when locking in flammable products. It passed with flying colors, outperforming commercial sealants, and can also be used in parts that get in contact with lubricants, oils, and water, while facing the hazards of weathering. 

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The product worked so well that future plans include introducing the use of Pili Seal not only to other parts of an aircraft, but also in industries beyond aeronautics, such as building and construction. 

A farmer's son, Mark hopes that his invention will increase awareness on the valuable uses of produce endemic to the Philippines, while offering a sustainable way to deal with their byproducts. “Pili Seal pioneers the study of upcycling waste materials for production of aviation sealant,” he continues. “Through my invention, I hope to inject a new perspective that beneficial and sustainable usage can be found from waste materials. I hope this will inspire greater innovation in global aviation, while empowering the livelihoods of local Filipino farmers through new streams of income." 

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Run by the James Dyson Foundation, the James Dyson Award encourages young and upcoming inventors and design engineers to address day-to-day problems by creating simple, clever, and sustainable solutions that can be accessible to a wide audience.  

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As one of the 84 National Winners from around the world, Mark will now proceed to the international stages of the competition, and will be judged by a panel of Dyson engineers. After narrowing down the choices to the 20 best inventions, inventor, designer, and entrepreneur Sir James Dyson, will pick one International Winner, two runners up, and a Sustainability Winner. The final judging will be happening in October 2021. 

For more information, visit that James Dyson Award's website.

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