pp Monument to the Sun in Zadar, Croatia, consisting of multilayered glass plates with the photovoltaic solar modules underneath.
Common forms of renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, are not very efficient and require plenty of space, a limited commodity in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, there are solutions and floating solar panels are one possibility. They not only generate energy but also prevent evaporation. An installation in Japan that went into operation last year is expected to generate up to 20% more energy than land-based solar panels. In Singapore, where the largest system in the world was installed last October, bifacial solar cells which allow sunlight to enter from both sides are used. There is also an “active cooling” feature using pumped water for cooling and improved performance. Although some people are very pessimistic, I firmly believe that humanity’s ability to innovate and apply technology will save us. On a study tour at Tsinghua University I helped to design a small-scale sustainable
pp A map board inspired the author and her classmates to design a bus stop with solar power for charging mobile phones that incorporates rainwater collection for cooling.
energy system [see photos]. At home, I try to persuade my parents to consume less electricity. Sometimes they use air-conditioning too much or keep too many lights switched on, but at least they are now aware of the need for acquiring green living habits. While not everyone can innovate, we can all stay alert and play our part. Let’s not be like the lazy, dozy frog, soaking away in its pot while the water boils. Instead, it’s time to do some leapfrogging.* Look out for new technology coming soon to Hong Kong places near you.
*Leapfrog ahead The concept of leapfrogging is used in many domains, including economic growth and business. The main idea is that small, incremental innovations mean that leaders stay ahead until a radical change takes place. It is often based on older innovations and allows new leaders to advance more easily, thus “leapfrogging” ahead. The idea comes from the game where one child bends down so that another can use his or her back easily as a hurdle.
Hazel Wong is in Year 2 of an Environmental Management and Technology course at HKUST. She is fully committed to promoting green habits through environmental education. Her scholarship with the HKFYG Innovation and Technology Scholarship Award Scheme begins this year and she is planning an overseas attachment at the University of New South Wales in Australia, followed by a local internship with Dunwell Industrial (Holdings) Ltd. Her mentor is Professor Daniel M Cheng, Managing Director of Dunwell Enviro-Tech (Holdings) Ltd.