Engineering Intern — Sustainable Coconut Processing

Paranas, Samar, Philippines
Job Type
Deadline for Applications
Where to Apply


CocoAsenso is a social enterprise startup that is creating market and employment opportunities for remote coconut farmers in the Philippines.  We are doing this by establishing a network of small-scale coconut processing facilities that increase efficiency in coconut value chains.

We have just begun operations of our first processing facility on the island of Samar, one of the poorest and largest coconut producing regions of the Philippines.

To date, we have received funding from the Philippine government, Bank of the Philippine Islands Foundation, DBS Foundation, Peace and Equity Foundation, Fair Trade USA and private investors.  This engineering project is being funded by Lutheran World Relief and will prepare us to begin establishing expansion facilities by the end of this year.

A more detailed description of CocoAsenso’s business model and engineering challenges are provided below, following the internship description (page four).


The dates for this position are flexible. However, the intern must be available for a minimum of two months between June and August 2018.  A strong preference will be given to candidates who are available for at least three months.  Ideally, the internship will start mid-June and finish mid-October (i.e., four months).  The internship is full-time (40 hours per week).

Position Purpose

To lead the design, construction and installation of an integrated biomass energy system and improved coconut meat dryer for CocoAsenso’s processing facilities.

The biomass energy system will be based around charcoal production, gasification of charcoal (to produce syngas for generator) and heat recovery (to provide heat for coconut dryer and boiler).

The dryer will be thermally tied into the biomass energy system.  The dryer may be a cabinet dryer, conveyor dryer, fluidized bed dryer, or some other type of dryer that would be ideal for CocoAsenso’s production of desiccated coconut.

If time allows, the intern will also contribute to designing plans for a desiccated coconut processing facility that is constructed primarily out of used shipping containers and meets international food safety standards.

The intern may also be asked to contribute to other engineering-related projects related to CocoAsenso’s work.


Research design options and review preliminary research and design work conducted by CocoAsenso and student volunteers

Perform side experiments or pilot studies, if needed, to better understand equipment or material characteristics

Complete design calculations, drawings and specifications for an optimal biomass energy system and coconut dryer

Develop a construction schedule and budget for project delivery

Supervise construction activities to ensure project is going as designed

Make quick decisions or calculations regarding any material or process changes needed during the construction phase

Check all materials, welds, equipment, plumbing etc. before operation

Test each component for operability in process order to ensure working condition

Complete any final design changes, construction or other required work necessary to operate the equipment

Develop operation and maintenance documentation

Enjoy a cold glass of tuba on us!


Recent graduate, current graduate student, or current upper-level undergraduate student in Mechanical or Agricultural Engineering, or similar

Strong skills in mechanical and thermal design and analysis

Creative thinker and capable of creating frugal solutions with limited resources

Passionate about hands-on work

Experience with computer aided drawing such as AutoCAD, Sketchup, Microstation, etc. to generate technical designs

Confident working in different cultural environments, respectful and sensitive of local culture
Strong verbal and written communication skills

Enjoys working both independently and as part of a team

Passionate about sustainable development and poverty alleviation

Enjoys working in a startup environment

Comfortable living in very basic accommodations in a rural area of a developing country (project and living location are thirty minutes from the nearest ATM and two hours from the nearest full-service hospital)


All work-related expenses will be covered by CocoAsenso (international round-trip airfare, visa, room and board, local travel, etc.).

Intern will also receive a stipend of $500 per month.

Intern will be responsible for medical expenses, personal travel, etc.

Your Home in Paranas

Paranas is a small municipality located on the western coast of the Island of Samar. It is a beautiful verdant island dotted with coconut palms, spectacular coastline and the hum of rural life. There are limestone caves, cold springs, rivers, forest and beaches to explore. Very few tourists come to this remote region. The people of Samar are very friendly and curious as to why you have come to their island. It is not uncommon to be invited into people’s homes and be offered a snack or glass of tuba (local coconut wine). Kids are the first to greet you in each town and people love to laugh and smile. The local language is Waray-Waray. However, English is widely spoken, which makes it even easier to interact with the Samareños.

Tacloban is the closest city (two hours away). It was devastated by one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded in 2014 (Typhoon Haiyan).  However, a casual visitor today would not immediately notice the storm’s damage.  Manila and Cebu are short flights away from Tacloban (costing around $100 round-trip). From Cebu or Manila, you can fly to almost anywhere in SE Asia within four hours.

For Interested Applicants

Click the following link to learn more about CocoAsenso and the engineering challenges you would be working on:

Follow this link to apply for the position:

Application Deadline

We are currently accepting and reviewing applications on a rolling basis. If the position is still listed on our website, we are still accepting applications.