COTABATO CITY―The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has granted patent registration to a prototype of renewable energy conversion developed by a journalist based in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Lawyer Lolibeth Medrano, IPOPHL patents director, wrote that a certificate of registration (COR) of patent has been issued to Nash B. Maulana, one year after he had applied for utility model (UM) patent of his Tri-Mode Power Generator (T-MPG) System, a set of self-charging battery-driven generator prototype.
BARMM Education Minister Mohaguer Iqbal lauded the project even prior to the grant of the patent, saying, “this is what we need: creativity in invention or innovation.”
The region’s Interior and Local Governments Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said his office can host a forum where the patent may be presented, and the model explained and discussed.
Maulana, a correspondent of Manila Standad, said the T-MPG UM can be upgraded to full-scale of his original design. The model is a downscaled version including a direct current (DC) source composed of car batteries in the prototype, instead of costly industrial batteries.
He said T-MPG as a marine electricity source conversion model for renewable energy “can be expanded” with a gearbox mechanism designed for a hydropower turbine or a wind turbine system, as established in a Research and Development (R&D) program on marine electricity conversion for renewable energy developed in Europe.
Maulana, however, added that any R&D efforts should “not extend” the design to external community looping distribution, just yet, so as not to create early “conflict” with power utilities on issues like “islanding.”
Engineer Chamlette Garcia, chief of the IPOPHL Utility Model Examination Division (UMED), said the Philippine patent regulatory agency is strict as ever on granting patent COR including those for utility models (UMs), under which the T-MPG is patented.
“The whole world, including US (inventors), will get to see it (T-MPG) when it’s published on the IPOPHL e-Gazette,” Garcia explained. The abstract of Maulana’s utility model had been published in a month-long “period of opposition,” May 20―June 20, 2022. There was no opposition.
Where it started
Asked how he came up with the idea, Maulana said the T-MPG System has been conceptualized in decades of “formation of thoughts” on “transferring the marine electricity for conversion (to renewable energy) which would take the diesel prime-mover off the system, to a stationary land utilization to develop a source of renewable energy.”
Instead of a diesel prime mover, Maulana uses heavy-duty customized brushless DC motor which he had ordered from China. The prototype driving motor is mechanically enhanced in terms of torque (to overcome friction) in driving a transmission, which is running a set of mechanical loads composed of one marine dynamo-type generator and another device, each turning on a technically required speed
Maulana said he was keen in childhood on observing his father’s machines in water transport vessels which utilized some of the components used in his current project. He was also friendly to his father’s workers, even then as a child.
He said in support of the education aspect of the Peace Process’ Normalization Track (on education and community reintegration), the T-MPG model can be an “instrument of change in the landscape of social preference in war-torn areas of the Bangsamoro region.”
Maulana added that among the Filipinos, “influence” from work interest remains the top conveyor of knowledge transfer in both traditional and emerging technologies.
Garcia said the details of formality being an essential part of the technical requirements is particularly provided in the IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) of RA 8293, known as the “The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.”
Parallel technology and R&D studies
“Have you ever seen anything like this before?” tops the questions asked on Maulana’s utility model by some of the country’s science and technology officials in online meetings hosted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in April.
Maulana said his answer to the question is “not yet,” at least speaking in terms of an entire system that is already developed like the T-MPG integrative setup.
But he said any serious R&D probe of the T-MPG UM may also be made in reference to a conference paper on “marine current as an effective source for renewable electric energy conversion.”
The paper titled: “Drive Generator for Marine Current Energy Conversion” is credited to Swedish scientists at Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity.
The conference paper was based on a thesis of the same title published by that prestigious learning institution in Europe in 2007.
In graphical terms, Maulana added, a similar concept developed in Taiwan was patented in the Philippines in 2005.
A little similarity with the Taiwan model, if any, did not matter nor hamper the patent application for the T-MPG Bangsamoro Model.
Instead, the precedent technology patent has even boosted the formality examination review (FER) on the T-MPG System, which was conducted by Engineer Marriane Gadaingan of the IPOPHL Utility Model Examination Division (UMED).
In support of BARMM studies
Maulana, however, reiterated that his utility model is no more than a prototype that does not deliver a full-scale output, unless when some of its components are upgraded to its full-scale design.
But he said he would recommend that R&D efforts on the T-MPG shall be limited to consideration of technical probe of this system, as a source of conversion into renewable energy―and should not include any program leading to community extension of loops installation and distribution.
A separate R&D, he said, should cover any such extended program.
As a journalist
Maulana has covered BARMM areas for the Manila Standard (since 2016), and previously, in the coverage of ARMM for the Philippine Daily Inquirer (1992-2016).
He has also written books on community best practices in projects supported (in ARMM) by international organizations, including the World Bank in 2010 and in 2014.
He said he has had some engineering background in theory and practice. But in college, he opted to finish journalism.
Among others, Maulana is a recipient of the European Union Peace Journalism Award (2015), Sultan Kudarat Professional Achievement Award (print journalism category, 2015); Humanitarian Reporting Award (ICRC, 2010), ARMM Gawad Kalikasan (2018), Peace Reporting Citation/ Certification of Recognition by the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division (2010) and is a 2016 CMMA Finalist for the Philippine Inquirer’s Mamasapano Series in 2015.
Nash B. Maulana studied BSEE at National University, Manila, and finished a Bachelor of Journalism at Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila.