New technologies presented at Energy Smart Philippines 2015

July 25, 2015 News

The BusinessMirror went around the annual event’s exhibit area and found some innovative solutions to old problems. Some old technology were also dusted off and upgraded. There were also new applications, including evolutions on the use of solar technology.

The exhibit area showcased a wide range of technologies, solutions, best practices and initiatives, along the energy sector value chain. Among those on display included new advances in energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean technologies

A decade before, LED is but an oddity, a small part of toys and appliances. Today, LED lighting has come a long way and is now part of a rapidly growing, high-efficient way to light up homes, buildings, offices and even arenas.

Homeowners like LED because it is an energy-saving device. A small lamp of a few watts is able to approximate the light emitted by the old incandescent lamp of a much higher wattage.

In many cases LED lamps have surpassed the performance of conventional lighting sources and their relative long lifetime has resulted in significant cost savings.

However, since LED is relatively new, there are bound to be myths associated with it. Philips, one of the oldest and reputable manufacturers of lighting fixtures, provided us with explanations about how the technology really works.

According to Philips, initial investment in LED is higher, but the return on investment (ROI) in an installation is surprisingly rapid when taking maintenance and energy cost savings into consideration.

It also said that LED lights are capable to reaching full output almost instantly after switching them on and can be switched continuously without shortening useful life.

Philips listed 15 myths that it debunked, including the myth that LEDs contain hazardous substances. In comparison with high-pressure sodium, fluorescent or induction, it does not contain mercury, lead, or other toxic materials, and are recyclable.

There were also solar panels during the event. We have grown accustomed to solar panels installed on rooftops for housing, commercial and industrial uses of photovoltaic (PV) modules or cells.

However, Morning Sun, a company that produces solar panels, had gone where no one had ventured before and integrated their PV system into windows, curtains or glass claddings surrounding a building.

Instead of ordinary glass windows of a regular building, for example, the manufacturer had inserted their PV cells into the glass windows itself.

It achieved two things—provide the façade and, at the same time, retrieve energy from the sun from the PV cells embedded inside the glass windows to power appliances inside the building.

Excess power could be returned to the grid and earn more savings for the building’s owners.

Normally, the costs of solar panels are separate from the cost of the building. But in the case of Morning Sun’s product, the cost of the product is included in the building’s construction.

The technology is about 10 years old and originated in Japan.

On the other hand, there was another device on display that replaces those ugly rotating exhaust fans mounted on roofs of buildings to take away the heat from the interior. Research has proven that heat and moisture is the attic’s worst enemy.

Solar Star came up with a product, called the Solar Tube, that does the same kind of work like those round exhaust fans but is hardly noticeable when viewed from the streets.

The roof-mounted attic fan has unobtrusive design with its low profile, but it effectively reduces damaging condensation or moisture. The Solar Star conversion kit transforms any roof vent into an eco-friendly solar-powered vent.

Similarly, but coming from a different manufacturer, the Solar Tube is also mounted on the roofs of buildings and homes, providing light into the interior of the building without electricity.

Philippine Geogreen Inc. manufactures the Solar Tube, which can replace the “skylights” of old buildings, usually a rectangular hole punched through the roof and covered with opaque materials to let in light.

The Solar Tube is not only nice to look at but is more efficient as it has reflective materials built into it and sucks out the heat and ultraviolet lights with the installation of UV inhibitors inside the tube.

It does not consume electricity and, therefore, prolongs the life of LED products in the buildings where they are in use.

The tubes come in different sizes, starting with the 10-inch diameter, 14, 21 and the largest at 29 inches for factories and gymnasiums. The small diameter tubes are for residential buildings.

Ceiling fans gained a new lease on life with the advent of Powerfoil, a fan-on-steroids that is able to keep cool a large area with a single “Big Ass” fan.

Powerfoil is equipped with 10 blades, like a huge helicopter rotor, but is surprisingly silent and consumes only a small amount of electricity.

The three-blade model for homes consumes only 30 watts, like a small lightbulb, compared to the 60 to 70 watts of a regular ceiling fan.

Made by Haiku, this fan is “poetry in motion,” according to the manufacturer, and is guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Powerfoil is made to fit any building to extract maximum efficiency from the fan, and the manufacturer would first measure the area to be cooled before the fans are made and installed.

The 5-foot diameter model could set you back by as much as P65,000 to P68,000 and the Big Ass model would cost anywhere from P350,000 to P560,000. The manufacturer says the ROI could be recovered in a few years with savings from the nonuse of air-conditioning.

Silent Wind, on the other hand, is the company that manufactures a new generation of small wind turbine with silent blades, ideal for homes and yachts.

The turbines generate 400 watts that is enough to light two lightbulbs, one electric fan, or smaller devices. With the addition of solar panel in the house or boat, its power could be boosted twice to as much as 800 watts.

Energy Smart Philippines highlighted the partnership between the European Union and the Philippines in the energy sector. The annual event gathered business leaders, energy experts and policy-makers under one roof as they exchanged insights on the country’s energy situation. 

Source: Business Mirror