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DOST Balik Scientist discovers alternative cooking fuel to replace LPG stoves in homes

A Department of Science and Technology (DOST) - Balik Scientist hosted by the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Laoag, Ilocos Norte is set to provide clean cooking fuel alternatives to Filipino homes.

Dr. Fiorello B. Abenes, a Professor Emeritus at CalPoly Pomona University in California, USA and a Balik Scientist hosted by MMSU leads the technology transfer and commercialization of MMSU’s Village-Scale Nipahol Technology (VSNT). Nipahol Technology may also be used as cooking fuel and is seen to replace Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) stoves.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Balik Scientist Dr. Fiorello Abenes discusses the cooking stove prototype he developed that is powered by energy innovations from nipa sap. This technology is seen as an alternative to LPG stoves.

“Dirty cooking is still a problem in many of the rural areas of the Philippines. The use of firewood or charcoal emits unhealthy levels of particulates and noxious gases that affect the respiratory tract, mostly affecting women. Ethanol as cooking fuel is cleaner,” says Dr. Abenes. “We have developed a prototype that we hope we can scale up and make into a cooking stove suitable for indoor use and in commercial establishments.”

Although the stove prototype is yet to be developed as pressurized, Dr. Abenes and his team at MMSU successfully created a nipahol-fueled stove with a burner that functions through the pull of gravity. The successful adoption of MMSU’s VSNT rests on finding more uses for the ethanol produced from NIPA. Using Nipahol as cooking fuel will accelerate the commercialization of the VSNT technology.

Nipahol Technology is the innovation produced by extracting sap from Nipa (Nypa fruticans) into "Nipahol" at a facility housed at the National Bioenergy Research and Innovation Center (NBERIC) of the MMSU. Technologies from Nipa are seen to provide a multitude of uses, given its commercial viability in different portions of the value chain.

The Balik Scientist Program aims to promote information exchange and accelerate the flow of new technology into the country by strengthening the scientific and technological manpower of the academe and public and private institutions. The Program encourages Filipino scientists, technologists, and experts to return to the Philippines and share their expertise in order to promote scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development, including the development of the country's human capital in science, technology, and innovation.

The enactment of the Balik Scientist Act in June 2018 also paved the way for DOST to grant returning Filipino scientists with competitive benefits such as daily subsistence allowance, health insurance, and roundtrip airfare. For those interested to become a Balik Scientist, you may contact the DOST Balik Scientist Program Management Office thru email at

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