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Pili Seal Wins The James Dyson Award 2021 In The Philippines

Philippine State College of Aeronautics undergraduate develops a sustainable sealant for 
aircraft integral fuel tank made from waste of Pili Tree Resin

It's that time of the year again!  Annually, we anticipate the winners, runners up and finalists for the James Dyson Award.  Young inventors and tech enthusiasts alike look forward to the creations of a new generation of inventors, proving that there is a constant quest for the improvement of living conditions globally. 


This year, the winning entry of the Philippines is the Pili Seal, an invention by Mark Kennedy Bantugon, a degree holder of BS in Aeronautical Engineering at the Philippine State College of Aeronautics. Aside from aeronautics, Bantugon aims to further study and maximize the application of the sealant to other relevant industries such as land & water transportation, construction, buildings, wood or in metal sheet roof application. He plans to use this innovation as a gateway to locally develop aviation sealants in the Philippines and hopes to establish an ecosystem to help local Filipino farmers generate income opportunities based on upcycling and utilizing resin waste of Pili Trees.  You see, Bantugon himself is the son of a farmer, and he looks forward to helping not just the aeronautic sector with his invention, but also dreams of impacting agriculture with it, through planting of more pili trees.

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The Pili Seal  is a sustainable sealant for aircraft integral fuel tank to prevent fuel leakages. Unlike commercially available aviation sealants, Pili Seal is made from the waste material particularly the waste of Pili Tree Resin which is otherwise known as “spent resin” or “de-oiled resin”.  


Pili Seal is a two-component sealant. The waste of Pili Tree Resin acts as the base material for aircraft integral fuel tank sealant production. Through the mixing of the base and a hardener material, the sealant can properly function as a sealing material and is applicable for aircraft parts such as the integral fuel tank and components that are subjected to contact with aircraft fuels, lubricants, oils, water, and weathering. 


In terms of application, performance and efficacy, Pili Seal is found to have exceeded data results of commercial sealants from over 20 property tests ranging from physical, chemical, mechanical, thermal to rheological. Apart from its exceptional property results, and unlike commercial sealants, Pili Seal also offers safe and non-toxic effects to day-to-day users like aircraft mechanics and technicians. 


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Bantugon's invention is an attempt to solve the need for an  aerospace sealant that is less hazardous and does not emit offensive odors.   Polysulfide-based sealants, the most common end-user industry sealant used in this field are used by aircraft manufacturers.  It serves as resistant to aviation fuels and are therefore useful for sealing fuel tanks.  However, they present numerous hazards.  Serious eye, respiratory and skin irritations; harm to aquatic life; long-term damage to human organs with prolonged and repeated exposure and use through inhalation; genetic defects and cancer are just a few of the hazards of this product.  Bantugan's pili seal yields none of these effects.


“I was struck by the lack of options to effective and sustainably-produced sealants in the aviation industry and thought there should be a way around. Pili Seal pioneers the study of upcycling waste materials for production of aviation sealant. 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,” shares Bantugan.

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Local Runners Up


The Philippines presented strong and noteworthy entries to the James Dyson 2021 Awards, resulting in two runners up.  These entries were truly made with a heart for the persistent issues that plague Filipino living and a desire to help improve local living conditions.  Informed by social realities, this next generation of inventors prove that not only are they technically-gifted, they are also armed with the emotional acumen and empathy for the country's immediate needs.


ReConnect, a project by three  students from De La Salle University Manila, aims to solve the problem of scarce WiFi connectivity resources in the country.   Essentially a portable and compact device, ReConnect that temporarily restores internet connectivity in disaster-stricken areas. This empowers them to access critical information, and to communicate with rescue efforts.  


On the other hand, another runner up, The Non-invasive Bacteria Detector on Wounds,   is a portable, sensor-based device that detects gas emitted by an open wound through an electrochemical gas sensor. Signals picked up from the sensor enables patients to understand their injury site, and to administer appropriate medication safely. Apart from detecting bacteria in wounds, the detector serves as a cost and time-effective alternative to laboratory tests at local public hospitals. It can also be used by non-medical staff, and purchased over the counter. 


About The James Dyson Award


The James Dyson Award forms part of a wider commitment by Sir James Dyson, to demonstrate the power of engineers to change the world. The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, the James Dyson Foundation and James Dyson Award encourage aspiring engineers, to apply their knowledge and discover new ways to improve lives through technology. Since the Award first opened in 2005, James Dyson has contributed over £100m to boundary-breaking concepts in education and other charitable causes. The competition has supported nearly 250 inventions with prize money, and is run by the James Dyson Foundation, an engineering-education charity funded by Dyson profits.


For more information and regular updates on the progress of the James Dyson Award, check out the Award’s website, Facebook and Instagram. You can also view past winners stories on the Dyson Newsroom here.