Farmer’s son invents aircraft sealant, wins Dyson award 2
James Dyson Award winner Mark Kennedy Bantugon says the Pili Seal he invented has exceeded the testing results of the commercial sealants.

Farmer’s son wins James Dyson award for inventing aircraft sealant made from pili tree waste

Thru his Pili Seal, Mark Bantugon hopes to help local farmers generate income opportunities by upcycling waste of pili trees.
ANCX Staff | Sep 03 2021

In March, ANCX featured a Filipino beauty brand that puts the spotlight on the anti-aging benefits of pili. It was good news for the skin-conscious and aging-averse, but did you know something else can be made out of pili tree waste?

Mark Kennedy Bantugon, a farmer’s son from Mabini, Batangas, discovered that the waste of pili tree resin, also called “spent resin” or “de-oiled resin,” can be made into a sustainable sealant to prevent fuel leakages in aircrafts. His invention, the Pili Seal, actually won for him the James Dyson Award in the Philippines this year.

Mark is a BS Aeronautical Engineering graduate at the Philippine State College of Aeronautics. Struck by the lack of sustainably-produced sealant alternatives in the aviation industry, Mark decided to do his own study about it and eventually discovered the Pili Seal. 

Dyson awardee Mark Kennedy Bantugon
The Pili Seal is made from the waste of pili tree resin, also called “spent resin” or “de-oiled resin.”

Pili Seal is a two-component sealant, explains Mark. The waste of pili tree resin acts as the base material for aircraft integral fuel tank sealant production. Through the mixing of the base and a hardener, the combination can properly function as a sealing material. “Ang imbensyon na ito ay maaaring magamit sa fuel tank ng isang eroplano o kaya naman ay mga area na may exposure sa aircraft fuel, lubricants and weathering,” the inventor said.

According to Mark, based on the results of 20 different standard testing procedures, it was discovered that the Pili Seal exceeded the testing results of the commercial variety. “At dito masasabi na ang physical, chemical, mechanical, thermal at rheological property ng Pili Seal ay mas effective bilang aircraft integral fuel tank sealant compared sa commercial sealant,” Mark says. 

Mark credits having been raised by a farmer as the path that led to his invention. In an interview with Inquirer, the young man said his dad, also a public school teacher, exposed his five kids to farm work before going to school and after school. Apart from learning to feed livestock and poultry, his father’s world also opened his eyes to plants and what are considered to be nature’s waste materials. 

The Batangueño aims to further study and maximize the application of his sealant with other relevant industries such as land and water transportation, building construction and metal sheet roof application. He said he plans to use this innovation to locally develop aviation sealants in the Philippines and help local Filipino farmers generate income opportunities based on upcycling and utilizing resin waste of pili trees. 

The Pili Seal will be one of the inventions that will progress to the international stage of the James Dyson Award. International Top 20 shortlist and international winners will be announced on 13th October 2021 and 17th November 2021 respectively.