Friday, December 13, 2019

Researchers come up with over 60 innovations to help tackle air pollution

Feb 24. 2019


Dr Adisorn Tuantranont, a senior researcher at the Thailand Organic
Dr Adisorn Tuantranont, a senior researcher at the Thailand Organic
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By The Nation

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IN THE wake of the haze that enveloped Greater Bangkok as well as the North and Northeast, the Thailand Research Fund (TRF) has come up with over 60 innovations that can be turned into practical technology.

Academics also floated several ideas such as imposing additional taxes on vehicles and fuel, charging a fee for entering the central business district (CBD), introducing electric micro-buses and extending the use of an effective haze-sensing system to other parts of the country. 

TRF director Sutthipan Jitpimonmas listed the 62 innovations in his opening speech at a seminar on tackling haze technology and solutions in Bangkok on February 22. An accompanying exhibition presented details of the new innovations.

Sutthiphan said the TRF sponsored research into technology to deal with minuscule dust particles in the air – a long-standing problem in Thailand. So far, the researchers have come up with an effective haze-sensing and GIS (geographic information system) network that is being tried out in the northern province of Nan, a portable device to read the air quality index (AQI) and PM 2.5 and PM10 levels, and a design for a lightweight electric micro-bus.

Hence, he said, the public and private sectors should invest in further studies so these innovations can be turned into more practical and large-scale technology and help eradicate the problem of air pollution. 

“The TRF is ready to support research, as this issue has been affecting people and the country,” he said, noting that between Bt100,000 and Bt1 million had been put to initially develop these innovations, which should be further funded to develop for practical use. 

At the same event, renowned economist Adis Israngkura na Ayudhya suggested that taxes be imposed on vehicles and fuel used by pollution-generators, as this will motivate people and organisations to use clean energy. He also said that imposing a fee on personal cars for entering the CBD area will lower the number of cars in downtown Bangkok, and urged related agencies to discuss the pros and cons of the idea. 

He also called on the government to improve the public transport system and encourage the use of clean energy for cars. 

Yossapong Laoonual, an engineering lecturer at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, said he and the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority had conducted a study on the correlation between energy efficiency and speed, and had come up with a lightweight electric micro-bus. He explained that this vehicle’s chassis will be made of composite material, will use a smaller battery and be suitable for distances of less than 300 kilometres. He added that the design met the requirements set by the Department of Land Transport and the United Nation’s ECE-R66 safety standard used in Europe, Japan and Australia.

Preecha Karin, a lecturer from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, said PM2.5 particles from the exhaust fumes of diesel engines have been cited as a cause for lung cancer, so the government should require an automatic diesel particulate filter to be installed in all vehicles. He also said that using bio-fuel will not only help lower the emission of toxic fumes from car exhausts by 50 per cent, but will also offer energy security and boost the income of farmers. 

Sanphet Chunithipaisan, an engineering lecturer from Chulalongkorn University, said he has created easy-to-use devices that read the intensity of PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 particles in the air as well as offer information on temperature and humidity. These devices, installed in Nan province in a pilot project, will help people monitor air pollution and take timely action. 

These devices – which are connected via Wi-Fi and send information to the Cloud system every five minutes – have been found to be as good as the devices used at air-quality measuring stations. Since this network also gets information from other provinces in the North, residents can keep track of the air-quality situation on http://cusense.net/ or via Twitter account @foonReporter, he said, adding that the government should look into installing these devices in other provinces as well. 

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