Cover Photo: Carvey Ehren Maigue Support Group / Facebook

The James Dyson Award's first-ever sustainability winner and inventor behind AuREUS, Carvey Ehren Maigue, talks about his journey towards victory during an online call

The Philippines, naturally situated on the typhoon belt, is vulnerable to several natural disasters — especially raging storms and floods. The Filipino people are known to be resilient and have tremendously shown their support for those who were badly affected by the typhoon. Now, people are gradually pulling through and staying hopeful for a better day. Fortunately, we can build on that hope thanks to more advanced technology to help us respond more adeptly during times of crisis.

Read more: Ulysses, Rolly, Quinta, And Siony: Where To Donate For The Relief Of Typhoon Victims

With more than 1,000 entries from young designers, the international design award competition, The James Dyson Award 2020, recently acknowledged Carvey Ehren Maigue's invention — AuREUS or the Aurora Renewable Energy & UV Sequestration — and recognising him as the competition's inaugural Sustainability Award. It seems to me that Carvey's AuREUS system is worthy of recognition as it is not only brilliant but relevant to us today. 

Carvey found a way to create sustainable walls or windows that can absorb the sun's UV rays and convert them into clean renewable electricity. All he needs to create these walls and windows are up-cycled crop waste. "I learned to extract the juices and the oils from crops [from my grandmother]," Carvey shared.

It is strikingly apparent that the AuREUS solar panels are nothing short of a brilliant invention that can make a huge difference to the environment. Once Carvey's AuREUS system is installed on existing windows and walls, people won't have to worry about power shortages even when the electrical lines get cut! It is accessible, sustainable, and can easily be "plugged and played".

Read more: 5 Companies Introducing Cutting-Edge Technology for Sustainability

"During science class, we were watching The Core and there was a scene [where] engineers were trying to solve how to land the space shuttle correctly. And my teacher told me 'Carvey, I hope one day, you can become an engineer scientist,'" he smiled, recalling when he first developed a knack with the field. 

Although Carvey also had an interest in priesthood and astrophotography through the years, he had always been drawn to design and engineering. Because despite the industry's taxing demands, Carvey kept tenacious enough to achieve his goal. He had initially lost the first time he entered the Dyson competition but this only pushed him to further improve his design over the next two years. Carvey tells me that his motivations, his determination and discipline are all fuelled by a single, powerful dream — to counter climate change. 

On the bright side, his previous defeat motivated him to consider other materials with which to make his windows. "Back in 2018, my goal was to use glass. But I failed on that. I [could] only make it on resin and not on glass which I [thought] was a failure. [Until] I found out that it can also be used [on] fabric, panels, [and] vehicles such as cars and aircraft. It was very fun because that failure gave me a chance to open up to more applications," Carvey said.

This is why he urges creators like him, teachers, and students to never limit themselves. "Always immerse yourself, and be open to other fields," he said, inspiring exploration and curiosity.

Read more: How To Stay Sustainable Even With Digital Waste

With the unfailing support of his mother and his long-time colleagues, Carvey finally reached his well-deserved victory — one which he shares not only with his family but with farmers, typhoon victims, and everyone else.

Carvey also confidently encouraged everyone to conquer the global stage. "By achieving this milestone, it shows that it is possible for us Filipinos to be recognised [internationally]. We just have to keep on going and not give up because there is this whole stage out there that is waiting for us. I think as Filipinos we have the advantage because we are very close to the effects of what's happening because of climate change. I hope we can use that as an inspiration as well. It may be hard, but it is very possible," he shared.