University of the Philippines Los Baños


Photo from Ms. Lisa Dizon 

Prof. Rex B. Demafelis, vice chancellor for research and extension, received the Manila Water Foundation Prize for Engineering Excellence in awarding ceremonies at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati City on Nov. 24.

The Manila Water Foundation, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, established the award to honor engineers and scientists “who manifest excellent engineering competence with outstanding passion and commitment to the development of communities that champion water, sanitation, environment, and sustainability.”

In his nomination of Prof. Demafelis,  Dr. Manolito Bambase, chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering (ChE)  said that the former embodies the University’s tri-fold functions of instruction, research and extension.  

To date, Prof. Demafelis has mentored 1,500 BS and MS students and researchers. As chair of the ChE department from 1997-2003 and 2005-2008, he spearheaded the upgrade of its curricular programs and implemented various infrastructure projects.

He has conducted research and extension work in wastewater treatment and biogas production. His research team has pushed for the advancement of biofuel production using alternative feedstock like sweet sorghum, malunggay, vutalao, macro and microalgae, Jatropha curcas, coconut oil, used frying oil, palm oil, Napier grass, and cassava.

His research and development work in biofuels produced linkages with government agencies, policy makers and foreign academic institutions in the USA, Canada, Australia, Argentina, India, Spain, and Japan.  

Prof. Demafelis has assisted 17 schools and 9 cities on their “plant and equipment design” program. He also brought his knowledge on biofuel production to the grassroots level through extension work and public service. He has published 28 articles in refereed journals and 91 in non-refereed journals.

Among the other prestigious awards that Prof. Demafelis has received are: the 2015 Phil. National Academy of Science & Technology Best Paper Award; 2014 UPLB Outstanding Researcher in Natural Sciences; 2013 Outstanding Chemical Engineer of the Philippines in the Academe; 2010 Regional Commission on Higher Education RePublica Award; and 2004-2012 UP Presidents’ Academic Distinction Award for International Publications. (MC Jadina)