Creative Sensor Technology Award at 2023 NZETIC Finals

Tan (right) receiving the Creative Sensor Technology Award Prof Lin Minn-tsong

UTAR team won Creative Sensor Technology Award (菱光科技獎) at the 2023 Net Zero Emissions Technology International Competition (NZETIC) Finals (2023淨零排放科技國際競賽決賽), held on 22 August 2023 at Taiwan University Sports Center, Taiwan.

The team consisted of Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) academic Tan Weng Cheong, who is also a Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering) student at LKC FES, and Master of Engineering Science student Asrin Awang Selan. They were supervised and mentored by LKC FES academics Assoc Prof Ir Ts Dr Bernard Saw Lip Huat and Assoc Prof Ir Ts Dr Yew Ming Chian.

From left: Dr Saw, Tan, Asrin and Dr Yew

The team walked away with NTD50,000 and a certificate for their winning project titled “Novel portable aluminium-air battery: A green energy via circular economy approach”.

Introducing their winning project, Tan explained, “The project aims to develop an aluminium-air battery separator using cellulose nanofibrils extracted from water hyacinth. Water hyacinth is an invasive aquatic plant that causes environmental problems in many countries around the world, such as Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Africa. Its rapid growth rate tends to form a dense mat on the water’s surface. This invasive behaviour disrupts the habitats of other aquatic organisms and requires substantial government resources for manual removal and incineration which further lead to air pollution. Water hyacinths possess a high content of cellulose that can be extracted to create a separator for the battery. This not only helps to address environmental issues but also transforms waste into a valuable resource.”

“Furthermore, the development of aluminium-air batteries is crucial in addressing the global energy demand crisis. The aluminium-air batteries represent a green energy storage system that aligns with the competition’s goal of advancing net-zero carbon emission technology. The aluminium-air battery relies on the aluminium anode as its energy source, generating electricity through the consumption of aluminium. The by-product of the battery is aluminium hydroxide, which can be efficiently recycled into aluminium, establishing a closed-loop circular economy. Consequently, the aluminium-air battery developed in this project demonstrates high recyclability, adhering to the principles of sustainability and aligning seamlessly with the competition’s thematic focus as well as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

Dr Saw congratulated the team for their outstanding performance and said, “This competition aims to promote technologies as part of an agenda to achieve net zero emission in accordance with the government policy. It provides an opportunity for students to showcase their research ideas in green technology. The student is thrilled to have won the Creative Sensor Technology Award in this international competition, which saw participation from 146 teams representing 10 countries. This victory not only signifies the acknowledgment of the students’ efforts but also underscores the students’ impressive presentation skills that captivated the judges. This achievement has significantly boosted the students’ confidence and motivation, particularly in relation to their research project.”

He emphasised, “Remarkably, the judges’ recognition has cast a spotlight on the students’ research project, suggesting its potential in contributing to the critical objective of achieving net-zero carbon emissions, a challenge that resonates on a global scale. The anticipation is that this project will persist, allowing for further refinements aimed at effectively meeting the demands of this monumental challenge faced by the world. It is fervently hoped that the trajectory of this project’s advancement will lead to substantial progress in fulfilling the ambitious mission of reducing carbon emissions to net-zero levels.”

Tan and Asrin shared, “We are deeply honoured to have received the Special Award - Creative Sensor Technology Award in this competition. This achievement serves as a testament to our dedication to advancing the frontiers of science and technology in our pursuit of a net-zero future.”

The duo expressed their acknowledgement and said, “First and foremost, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the organisers – the TECO Technology Foundation and Taiwan University, for hosting the 2023 Net Zero Tech International event. Furthermore, we wish to convey our deep appreciation to our parents, whose unwavering support has been our rock throughout our postgraduate studies. They have stood as our pillars, offering steadfast emotional supports during moments of uncertainty. Secondly, we would like to extend our profound gratitude to our supervisors, Dr Bernard Saw Lip Huat and Dr Yew Ming Chian, whose exceptional guidance, encouragement, and mentorship have been instrumental during our postgraduate journey. Their unwavering pursuit of excellence has inspired us to uphold the highest standards in our pursuits. Their insightful feedback, delivered in a nurturing and motivating manner, has fostered our personal and professional growth.”

“As we stand at the intersection of scientific exploration and real-world impact, we remain resolute in our commitment to innovation. This award ignites our passion to further advance our research, making meaningful contributions to the overarching goal of achieving a net-zero carbon future. We extend our gratitude to all those who have supported us on this journey and look forward to continuing our contributions to the fields of clean energy and sustainable technologies,” they concluded.

2023 Net Zero Emissions Technology International Competition (NZETIC) with the theme ‘Net Zero Tech International Contest @ Taiwan’, aimed to encourage school teachers to research and develop net-zero and negative emission technologies; assist school teachers in cultivating young talents in net-zero and negative emission technologies; promote domestic and international net-zero technology experts to connect and cooperate; establish a "Net Zero Carbon Emission Technology" information platform and a technology exchange network among industry, government, academia, and research institutions; enhance social consensus on energy conservation and environmental protection; contribute to implement the four transformational strategies of energy, industry, life, and social system; and create a professional and effective technology creative competition with "Net Zero Carbon Emission" as the central theme.

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