Teoh shows his self-designed Microsolar water heater.
By EILEEN NG
PETALING JAYA, Thurs: A Malaysian architect has done the country proud
by being featured as one of Time magazine's Heroes For The Planet in its
March 29 issue.
Teoh Siang Teik has designed an environmental friendly solar-powered water
heater that not only saves money but also energy.
In an exclusive interview with the Sun, Teoh said he first came up with
the idea while working as an architect in Nepal in 1981.
He was working on two projects there which needed a highly efficient solar
water heater. He checked out the existing models but they were too expensive
Believing that he could do better, Teoh managed to build a prototype in
six months, which was then installed at both buildings.
Thus, the Microsolar water heater was born and over the years, Teoh has
worked to improve it. The third generation Microsolar model has more improved
features such as better positioning of pipes and a tubular panel.
After working overseas for a number of years, the 44 year-old returned
home in 1997. "I came back because the design had been patented by the
Swiss-based World Intellectual Property Organisation (under the Patent
Cooperation Treaty) and I wanted to improve on my invention".
He set up a factory in Kuching, Sarawak, with some friends to manufacture
the water heater. The factory has so far produced 1,000 units.
He said what makes the Microsolar different from other conventional heaters
is that it heats the water to a temperature of 60-80 deg. as opposed to
the usual 50-60 deg.
It also retains heat for longer periods and is only two-thirds the size
of conventional heaters.
Costing RM3,590 for its smallest model (lm by 3.4m), which is enough for
a family of four, it can hold 270 litres of water and comes wifh a seven-year
Among the projects that have utilised Teoh's water heater are the Malaysian
Nature Society field research station at Boh Tea plantations in Cameron
Highlands and a housing project in Seremban.