International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia 2015 (IGEM 2015)

The International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia (IGEM) is here again in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) from 9th to 12nd September 2015! For IGEM since year 2011,  Expomal International Sdn Bhd had been the host until this year, when this annual event was taken over by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Malaysia (KeTTHA) (The first IGEM was held in 2010 by Green Purchasing Network Malaysia). The theme for IGEM 2015 is Powering The Green Economy which covers the following 5 key areas:

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Compared to the previous two years which I attended, the theme this year looks more interesting but the number of exhibitors are much more lesser (I believe it was due to the economic crisis we are facing now where many companies pulled out), in which a lot of the exhibitors are from the solar energy section. I would like to feature one company from each of the key areas above.

 

(photo taken from Solar NRJ website)

Green Energy

Installing solar panel on our rooftop sounds like a worthy investment but many of us do not know how does the whole thing actually work. Will it be expensive to get one? What if I need electricity when there is no sun light? So I talked to the sales engineer of Solar NRJ Sdn Bhd, and got some useful information. For the latest technology of solar panel, the efficiency achieved in harvesting sunlight is 16-17%, which is considered as ok and profitable (imagine if it reaches 100% in the future). However, we do not actually use the electricity produced from our solar panel. The electricity still comes from Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and the electricity generated from your solar panel will be sold to them directly, which means, you still have to pay your monthly electricity bill while TNB will pay you for the electricity you sell to them.

The starting cost to install a solar panel ranges from RM 30k to RM 100k (might be enough to get a car), depending on the types (on rooftop, integrated with building structure etc.) and also size of the solar panel. Despite of this difficulty in getting started, you will profit from your solar panel after 6 years of installation! Solar panel today requires low maintenance where you get 10 years of warranty for the frame and 25 years of warranty for the solar cell (the working part of the solar panel). After 25 years, the performance will drop to 80% of the original efficiency but it is still good to work.

Solar NRJ Sdn Bhd was actually promoting another type of renewable energy which is still under development – generating electricity using water! Rain water will be collected where it will be broken down into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas (rain water = water = H2O). The hydrogen gas will be used as the fuel to generate electricity. The whole mechanism is quite complicated that I am not sure how to explain, hahaha. It will be really cool if rain water can be utilised just like sun light!

 

(photo taken from Rapid KL website)

Green Transport

When people talk about green transport, usually it is about electric car or car running on natural gas. But to me, even though if the vehicles stay alive using ordinary petrol, it is green as long as many people share it at the same time – the public transport such as buses or railway transit (no point considering electric car as green if everyone drives one, the traffic will be horrible). Back to the main topic, cars running on natural gas is getting common in Malaysia that we even have buses running on natural gas because natural gas burns cleaner than petroleum, so there will be less emission. To make things better, electric bus is being introduced and operated now in Malaysia since June!

If you have ever been to Sunway, you might notice some fly-overs specially made for some kind of buses. It is the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – Sunway Line. Manufactured by BYD Company Limited from China while operated by Rapid KL, these electric buses have their own lane built over the roads in Sunway, which means no congestion and environmental friendly due to low emission. Well I was quite surprised when I saw this system being exhibited in IGEM but I have not heard of or seen it at all! I wish I get the chance to try it out.

As the cities are getting more and more congested with traffics and people coming to work, we definitely need more public transport which are reliable and frequent. We currently have Light Rail Transit (LRT-including Monorail), and Malaysian Railway (KTM) around Selangor area, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is in the progress of construction as well! Hopefully in a couple of years, by the time I need to work, the system is improved and less cars on road!

 

(image taken from Green Building Index website)

Green Building

Have not heard about green building? Yup it is not something common for the public but it is a growing trend as people opt for a more sustainable living. Green Building Index (GBI) is a tool that does the rating for buildings based on these 6 criteria: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, sustainable site planning & management, material and resources, water efficiency and innovation. To make it easier to understand, a green building needs to use less electricity (by utilising sunlight for lighting and good ventilation), has a comfortable surrounding, located at a strategic area with convenient public transportation, built by environmental friendly materials, uses less water (by harvesting rain water etc.) and…is designed innovatively.

The developer of the building will submit the application to be rated by GBI and they will be assessed twice – paperwork and on site. Those buildings will be assessed once every 3 years to make sure that they keep up to the standards. Till the end of December 2014, incentives such as tax exemption and stamp duty exemption will be given to the buildings that were granted the GBI certificate. For now no incentive is given but they are in the progress of setting things up.

During this IGEM 2015, GBI brought a good news! The surface area of buildings being certified as green buildings has reached 100 million square feet! I believe that buildings especially those commercial and industrial ones should follow the guidelines as they consume lots of energy and resources for a long period of time during the day (or even night!). This will certainly help in sustainable development of the country.

 

(image taken from DRB-HICOM Facebook page)

Solid Waste Technology & Management

Collection of solid waste has become a big business as more and more private companies involve themselves in this field. We might be familiar with companies that collect household wastes such as Alam Flora Sdn Bhd, e-Idaman, SWM, Trienekens and our local authorities, there are other companies that collect industrial and commercial wastes where the amount of solid wastes is enormous! DRB-HICOM Environmental Services (dhes) is a company managing solid wastes mainly for the industrial sector but they do collect recyclables from the public by setting up buy-back centres, in which they pay the people who ‘surrender’ their recyclables with respective pricing according to the types of the recyclables.

They collect recyclables in a quite specific way, unlike the ordinary 3-coloured bins we see everywhere. Besides newspapers, magazines, black and white papers, mixed papers, boxes, aluminium, tin and plastic (yes they are really specific), they also collect tetrapak (drinks carton), electronic wastes (old electrical appliances, handphones etc.) and also batteries. The thing that attracts me the most is, they collect used cooking oil as well!

Dhes works together with Uni10 Energy Sdn Bhd to run this waste cooking oil collection program in Putrajaya (6 locations) and Cyberjaya (1 location). These collected oil will processed into biodiesel instead of re-entering the the food chain or causing water pollution. The person in charge told me that the response is quite good especially from the hawkers (I do admit that the price offered is quite attractive compared to old news papers, hahaha). Recycling centres are very common in our neighbourhood, but they should be upgraded into more comprehensive ones so that we can truly reduce the solid wastes going into the landfill.

 

(photo taken from IHI Corporation website)

Clean water Technology & Management

Water is a very important resources which is involved in every part of your life and every thing that you use, including the electricity where the generator needs water to cool down (we call the indirect use of water ‘virtual water‘). Due to overuse and influence from climate change, our water supply is lesser and lesser. Even though we have plenty of water in Malaysia as a tropical country, but we still faced water crisis in Selangor a few times earlier this year. So, waste water treatment is a must to recover some of the water resources besides preventing contamination of other clean water.

IHI Enviro Corporation has a technology called IHI-IC Reactor which is used to process industrial waste water. The interesting thing is, the waste water is not only treated, but also fully utilised to harvest green energy in the form of biogas. It is a huge cylindrical-shaped structure where the waste water will enter from the bottom, go upwards passing though separator into a pipe (and some mechanisms that I don’t understand), reach the top to release the biogas. Then the treated water will be discharged from the top (killing two birds with one stone!) while the rest will circulate downwards through a pipe back to the bottom. (I should have spent more time at this booth to understand the whole mechanism ><)

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