The Grey Chronicles


Ecopolis and the Jeepney

I have been following Discovery Channel’s Ecopolis,a blueprint for city life in the year 2050, in a 6-part series for a month now. Discovery described the series: "each episode investigates several different visionary, technology-driven solutions to specific future mega-city challenges, such as how to produce enough food and water; find clean and reliable energy sources; reduce our reliance on oil for transportation; discover new ways to manage waste; and, increase the energy efficiency of city buildings."

The series which premiered in Discovery featured (2008):

Episode 1: Hungry City shown last 08 December 2008 explored the four future-forward technologies of urban farming, methane capture, sound-powered refrigeration and recycling water that could help reduce the risk of a food and water crisis in the cities of tomorrow.

Episode 2: Road to the Future shown 15 December 2008 restudied the technology of transportation to help minimize carbon’s impact on the atmosphere. Four new advancements — algae biofuels, fuel cell vehicles, blended wing aircraft and the electric jeepney — were presented.

Episode 3: A World of Trash shown 22 December 2008 examined four ideas that could revolutionize our trash and waste issues, including building a landfill island, gas plasma power, sewage heating and biochar fertilizer.

Episode 4: Building the Future shown 29 December showcased four technologies — super-efficient Aerogel insulation, hybrid solar lighting, green roofs and nano-solar PV cells.

Episode 5: Powering the Future shown 05 January, 2009 discussed the methods of cutting CO2 emissions by turning to nuclear fusion power, wind turbines, solar power, and/or carbon recapture and storage.

Episode 6: Ultimate Ecopolis shown 07 January 2009 Dr. Daniel Kammen, a Nobel Laureate and Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley reviewed 20 bold solutions and selected five key new technologies that would tackle five challenging environmental issues facing future cities: Ecopolis.

I was intrigued to see a vehicle’s signboard bearing Pilipinas among the top choices. Athena Ballesteros proposed an electric-driven jeepney or "e-jeepney" as the mode of mass transportation for Ecopolis. The lowly jeepney powered by electricity generated from biomass—methane gas from Smokey Mountain— was selected because it has a potential carbon saving of about 20%. The top five innovative solutions were ranked based on scalability and its ability to effectively reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions are as follow:

4. Bio-char, a combination of Australian’s Ariana Downe idea of incenerating biomas by pyrolisis (burning without oxygen) while using the heat generated to produce electricity and Stephen Joseph’s mixing char into the soil, an idea taken from natives of the Andes Mountain. This solves the waste management problem.

3. Urban Farms, a fusion of ideas from Singaporean Lee and Richard Chow, although it only generates a 0.2% carbon savings; the urban farms, situated on rooftops, would be able to feed fifty thousand Ecopolis residents with a variant of vegetables, fruits and other food produce.

2. E-Jeepney. The e-Jeepney is a revolutionary reincarnation of the Philippine icon (GreenPeace, 2008). The jeepney was devised after World War II when Filipinos adopted surplus military jeeps into passenger vehicles. The e-Jeepney is Green Renewable Independent Power Producer Inc. (GRIPP)’s electric-powered jeepney that debuted in the streets of Bacolod in 2007 to test the viability and sustainability of the electric-powered mass transport (So, 2007). Greenpeace launched the same e-Jeepney in Makati on June 22, 2007 (Inquirer, 2007).

1. Nano solar cells designed by using a cheaper substitute to the expensive silicon wafers, and solar concentrator dishes. Dr. Kammen fused these ideas into solar energy technology and was chosen as the idea which most urgently needed to help revolutionize the ecological fate of future cities. The e-jeepney was relegated to the second choice because it needs power to run, and in effect will be drawn from solar energy. Although the e-jeepney concept was in second place, it was a good feeling that a purely Filipino ingenuity proved to be that big in the eyes of a Nobel Laureate, irregardless if the idea came from a third-world country, as some nations considers the Philippines to be, but rather Dr. Kammen believed that the e-Jeepney concept is just the mass transport system which could catapult Ecopolis into a sustainable environment while reducing reliance on oil.

Follow the thread regarding e-Jeepney at Tsikot Philippines.


Discovery Channel (2008). Ecopolis. USA: Discovery Communications, LLC. 2008. Six-part series. back to text

Greepeace (2008). Can the jeepney lead the way to a bright future of clean, renewable energy?. Greenpeace. 2008. Web Site. back to text

So, Michelle P. (2007). E-jeepney and Jack. Cebu: SunStar. 14 June 2007. Online. back to text (2007) E-jeepney electrifies Makati folk Online. back to text

Disclaimer : The posts on this site are my own and doesn’t necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions.



  1. On October 26, we acquired 3. But it’s not only in the country renewable water resources have potential to generate more than 3. If done well, they can pay less on fuel – a pretty sensible idea when energy bills are rising and fuel poverty is on the Agribusiness segment?

    Comment by — 2013.May.19 @ 18:17 | Reply

  2. Good website! Franck from France

    Comment by Büyücü — 2010.June.14 @ 11:53 | Reply

  3. Good website! Franck from France

    Comment by transport — 2009.March.28 @ 18:33 | Reply

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