The role of women in climate change discourse is rising steadily. Not just in their intimate local knowledge and in managing natural resources, but in the field of innovation in favor of the environment as well.

Meet Maria Yzabell Angel V. Palma, or Yza, a 19 year old inventor and researcher from Naga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines. Yza considers herself as an “inventor for the planet”, incorporating these ideals into her work. Her focus is on helping the state of the earth with respect to global warming and climate change.

Global warming, or the increase of the earth’s temperature caused by high levels of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants and greenhouse gases is one of the threats that inspired Yza to find a way to mitigate climate change. With the reduced use of ozone depleting substances (ODS) found in refrigeration and air conditioning sector through the Montreal Protocol, the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) has increased.

HFCs were temporarily used in exchange for the ozone depleting compounds. Unfortunately, HFCs are also potent greenhouse gases – overwhelmingly stronger than carbon dioxide. In 2017, the Kigali Amendment prompted the phase down of the HFCs. However, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts a 244 percent increase in the number of AC units in the world from 2016 to 20150.

Yza’s response to this demand is the AirDisc Air Conditioning Technology. “The AirDisc uses the air that we breathe as the cooling medium that effectively substitutes chemical refrigerants,” she explained. The AirDisc uses a low compression and a high volume of air molecules as a replacement for HFCs. The invention only uses 150 watts of electric power as against chemical refrigerants air conditioners which need 1200-1500 watts. This would potentially cut the cost of energy consumption in households and establishments.

A recipient of the World Inventors Contest in South Korea, Yza also received the High Honors, Philippine Science High School System’s Excellence in Leadership Award and the Jesse M. Robredo Youth Award. Yza is set to attend the De La Salle University under the College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering program.

Besides from being an inventor for the planet, Yza also encourages women to join the field of science and technology. The media interest in her and her invention also inspired her underclassmen and other students to submit their own projects.

“I always try to encourage women to save people from climate change through their own small or big ways and actively participate in endeavors or activities that will negate, hopefully, the bad effects of global warming and climate change,” she concluded.###