Solar water heater leads way for
enviromentally-friendly solar air
Hong Kong, 28 March,1999--- For his design of a solar-powered water heater, Malaysian architect Teoh Siang Teik is featured as one of TIME's HEROES FOR THE PLANET this week.The profile is part of an occasional series published in TIME's April 5th issue, which reaches readers in Asia the week beginning March 29.
Teoh didn't set out to design the world's most powerful solar water heater, says TIME. He just wanted to go trekking. As an architecture student in Scotland in 1979, he was looking to prolong a visit to Nepal when a businessman asked him to design a hotel in a rural area with no electricity. His energy efficient solution won him first prize from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, and he returned to Nepal to design a further 69 rural buildings for the Nepal government.
His quest resulted in a stunningly simply engineering breakthrough, reports TIME and Teoh's research over the next 10 years led to several design improvements. Now his solar water heater, granted 1 of 3 international patents issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1997, out-performs the competition: needing no electric-powered backup, guaranteeing a higher water temperature than other models and, even better - it can be built using materials available at a local hardware store.
More importantly, says TIME, is that Teoh's innovation could unlock many more, including solar air-conditioners. Until now finding an efficient way to use the sun's energy to cool air has eluded engineers, but Teoh's company, Microsolar Malaysia, could potentially reduce the number of solar panels needed to run existing solar air-conditioning models (which are cumbersome and costly,) by half. Such a model would be a boon for the environment as well as a new industry for Malaysia, says TIME.
This week's HEROES FOR THE PLANET series also profiles:
TIME is Asia's largest English-language weekly magazine, with a circulation of more than 316,000. Its worldwide circulation is more than five million. It is published by Time Inc., a unit of Time Warner, the world's largest media and entertainment group.
Issued by Time Inc.