KUALA TERENGGANU: Saddened by frequent news of houses and buildings in Malaysia being damaged by storms, a researcher at University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) came up with a protective barrier design that not only deflects strong winds, but also helps channel the energy for easier harvesting using wind turbines.
UMT Maritime Studies dean Associate Prof Ts Dr Mohamad Rosni Othman said the design of his multipurpose protective barrier for high velocity winds can withstand gusts of more than 120km/h.
“The design will ensure that strong winds will be deflected, and by doing so, the energy is reduced, therefore the building or structure behind the barrier will not be damaged,” he said.
Mohamad Rosni was speaking after receiving the certificate of a patent granted for the invention from Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) director-general Datuk Roslan Mahyudin at UMT, today.
He said that with his invention, the turbulent nature of airflow would also be greatly reduced, as the strong wind is deflected, further toning down its destructive force, as the airflow become more laminar.
“The laminar flow makes it easier to tap the energy of the wind as it exits the protective barrier through a duct which is perpendicular to the side facing the wind,” he said, adding that harvesting the wind energy is optional and the barrier can function well on its own.
Mohamad Rosni said that apart from houses and buildings, the barrier can also make highways safer by deflecting crosswinds that have been known to cause accidents on certain stretches of highways in Malaysia.
“The barrier can be made of prefabricated concrete to facilitate installation in places where conventional construction is not possible, such as remote highways or at offshore oil platforms,” he said.
Mohamad Rosni said there are also plans to fabricate the barrier using kenaf fibre, as Terengganu has the potential to be a major kenaf planting state.
“Fabricating the wind barrier using natural fibres such as from kenaf will further increase its green technology profile,” he added.
Although it is a new invention, the vast potential of the wind barrier has caught the attention of potential buyers.
After catching wind of Mohamad Rosni’s invention, the Kuantan and Kemaman port authority is keen to install the barrier.
Kuantan and Kemaman port Operation and Monitoring senior manager Datuk Asmawi Nordin said strong winds pose a big problem at both ports.
“Bauxite and sand stocks that are awaiting shipment have often been buffeted by strong winds, causing the dust to be deposited elsewhere.
"We suffered losses through lost stocks and also risk raising public complaints, as the dust from the minerals causes problems,” he said.
Asmawi, who is also on UMT’s board of directors, said the nettings that are currently used at both ports as wind barriers are no match for strong winds, especially during the monsoon season.
“We will work closely with UMT to ensure that the effort to bring the wind barrier into production will be successful as we need its ability to deflect strong winds.”