Sino Land boss Daryl Ng trials mini-turbines in taps to generate electricity
Imagine if, every time you turned on a tap, the water drove a mini turbine to create electricity; developer aims to make it a commercial reality
Sino Land executive director Daryl Ng Win Kong wants to harness the energy on tap in the water supply to generate electricity.
Ng, the 35-year-old son of Sino Land chairman Robert Ng Chee Siong, hopes it may be feasible to install mini turbines in the mains water supply to a building so that when a tap is turned on, the flow of the water will turn the turbines and generate electricity.
That would produce "green" power, and, if it could be done on a big enough scale, it would reduce the amount of coal burned to generate power, and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere.
The principle of using water in municipal water supply pipes to drive micro-turbines to generate electricity every time a tap is opened has been explored by engineers around the world for several years.
But although the technological know-how has existed for many years, it is not known if a mini-hydropower generator has been installed and is operating successfully.
Ng wants to see if that can be done on a commercial scale, and he has engaged global consulting engineering group Arup to conduct a feasibility study.
If the study produces a positive result, he hopes to commission a system for Sino Land's next residential developments.
"I have a child. I love him very much. We all love our children. But one day when we die, our children will still be here," said Ng, who feels it is his responsibility to try to contribute to saving the earth's resources for future generations.
He hopes that ultimately the result of his idea will be free or low-cost electricity for Hong Kong householders, and that the installation of such mini-turbines in buildings in the city will make a small contribution to reducing Sino's carbon footprint, or the amount of carbon dioxide it is responsible for releasing into the atmosphere.
"We are now in the process of developing designs for more powerful, durable and maintenance-free turbines," Ng said.
He hopes these turbines will eventually go into production and be installed in Sino Land's upcoming projects.
By 2050, says Ng, up to 75 per cent of the world's population will be urban, with most of the incremental growth occurring in second-tier cities, particularly in Asia.
Cities already consume about 75 per cent of global energy and account for 80 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions.
If electricity could be generated on a sustainable basis for consumption in cities, people would live in a healthier environment, said Ng.
If the more powerful turbines are successfully made and installed in Sino Land developments, said Ng, he plans to invite government officials from Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China, as well as non-government organisations, to visit the installations. It could then inspire others to follow the same route.
The feasibility study Ng has commissioned is yet to be completed. But he has already conducted his own trials with two small turbines bought from Switzerland and installed in the Olympian City Phase Two shopping centre.
He says the results have been successful.
"We hope to eventually install 12 sets of turbines in The Avenue, a joint venture development between ourselves and the Urban Renewal Authority, in Wan Chai," said Vincent Lo, general manager of Sino's development division.
"The development is to be completed in the second quarter of next year."
The initial proposal is to install turbines to provide electricity for lights in lift lobbies.
The company is waiting for consent to begin pre-selling the 1,275 flats at The Avenue.