Inspiration

Wonder Kid: 19-Year-Old Aspiring Engineer Develops Tech for 'Green' Aircon

The young Philippine Science High School alumna introduces technology that might just be the future for all energy-saving air conditioners.
IMAGE COURTESY OF ANGEL PALMA
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With electricity consumption up four percent in the last year and monthly bills soaring higher and higher, there have been growing concerns about energy conservation in the Philippines.

With that concern in mind, Maria Yzabell Angel V. Palma, a De La Salle University mechanical engineering major, has developed an amazing invention that might just be the future of air conditioners.


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Her AirDisc prototype introduces an air conditioning technology that leaves little to no carbon footprint by consuming less energy and by not using any chemical refrigerants.

And just like the accidental discoveries that led to the creation of the pacemaker or the discovery of X-rays, the tech needed to create the AirDisc was realized entirely by chance. Palma was still in high school at Philippine Science High School (Bicol Region) working on an AirWave Oven for a school project, when she noticed that it was emitting cool air—air cold enough to come from an air conditioner. “So, I asked why not use this cold air instead?” she tells Town&Country in an interview.


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Palma then consulted her father, a mechanical engineer. “I learned that conventional air conditioners use high pressure and low volume, with a chemical refrigerant."

It then occurred to her to come up with a low pressure and high volume air conditioner instead. From there, she produced the AirDisc, which consists of a compressor based on low compression pressure and high volume of air molecules as a refrigerant. The system will allow air conditioners to function on 150 watts only.


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“It was in our 10th grade research subject that I started having ideas that could potentially help other people. Among those ideas, I chose to pursue the AirDisc [technology] that I have now,” she recalls. “I thought that it would be a waste, both for myself and the people who could have benefitted from it, if I didn’t push through with showcasing my project to the public.”


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Palma has been aware of general electricity consumption since as a child, she was forced to cut down on AC usage herself. “In my elementary years, I would come home after classes, tired and exhausted since I had walked from my school to our house. I wanted to turn on the air conditioner in my grandmother’s room, but my mama would switch it off because it would consume a lot of electricity,” she says. “I don't want other kids to feel the same way I did so when I invented the AirDisc, I kept in mind that [electricity] consumption should be as low as possible.”


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For her invention, Palma has already gained recognition from the International Federation of Inventors’ Association (IFIA), and won multiple awards from different organizations.


According to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Palma’s invention has already attracted a few companies.

Palma is seeking other companies to “join [her] in propagating the AirDisc, especially in this era of accelerating global warming, which is resulting in recurring heat waves that endanger the health and lives of many.” 

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“Aside from air conditioning and refrigeration, I want to learn how electric power plants work,” says Palma, certain that her university’s College of Engineering will equip her with the knowledge she needs to succeed in the field.

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Features Editor
Hannah is originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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