January 17, 2011, 6:04pm

MANILA, Philippines — Chemrez Technologies Inc., the country’s top producer of environment-friendly innovations, has given the Chemrez Green Chemistry Award to a fifteen-year-old student who designed a device which sequesters toxic gases emitted by motor vehicles.

Hailed by judges as a ‘green’ invention, Benedict Manwell R. Priela, a senior high school student of the Holy Infant Academy in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, was awarded the Chemrez Green Chemistry Award (Student Category) in the NICE held recently at SM Cebu Trade Hall.

The invention was borne out of Priela’s distress over the hazardous black smoke belched by vehicles. This drove him to work on a school science project that addresses this widespread problem and for which he bagged a green chemistry award in the recently concluded National Invention Contests and Exhibits (NICE).

The young inventor designed a device which sequesters the toxic gases emitted by motor vehicles and named it the Vehicle Emission Trap or simply VET.

Results of emission tests conducted on vehicles with VET installed on them showed that carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, was reduced by 94% and carbon monoxide, a deadly gas, by 96 percent.

“I want to be a doctor,” Priela said when asked about what his future plan was, obviously wanting to follow the footsteps of his father who is a medical doctor himself.

The VET puts into practice what green chemistry is all about. It is the design of chemical products and/or chemical processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of substances, directly or as a by-product, that are hazardous to human health or the ecosphere.

Special recognitions were also accorded to two other finalists: Leomar F. Almanza, King Laurez S. Masilingan, Kim Bryant Neri of Basud National High School “Regional Science High School, Oriental Mindoro for their work, Effect of Adding Discarded Thermoplastics and Wood Ash on Asphalt Concrete and Emil Keith N. Antonio of Mindanao State University Marawi Campus for his work, From Processed Sea Cucumber Waste to Novel Practical Clinical/Medical Applications.

The Chemrez Green Chemistry Award (Student Category) is a special award given in the NICE organized annually by the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) of the Department of Science & Technology (DoST).

The winner is chosen from the NICE finalists and receives a cash prize and a trophy.

The award is sponsored by Chemrez Technologies, Inc., a publicly listed company who advocates green solutions to environmental problems. Through it (award), Chemrez aims to encourage students to work on eco-friendly school projects.

This laudable government-private sector cooperation between DoST-TAPI and Chemrez is now on its third year and committed to continue on.