Green engineering

Dr Tan Chee Pin

While our priorities may be shifting, one thing remains - we are always looking for convenience when choosing our mode of transportation. Associate Professor Dr Tan Chee Pin from the School of Engineering says 70% of the walkways in Sunway City are well connected. This should encourage people to choose sustainable transportation. So, why aren't they?

Sustainable Integrated Transportation Ecosystem is a multidisciplinary research project that explores traffic conditions in Sunway City and investigates human behaviour concerning their mode of transportation. Researchers from the School of Engineering, School of Business and Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences collaborated on the project.

A behavioural study was conducted by examining factors that encouraged and hindered commuters' willingness to use the different modes of transportation. Lack of coverage from afternoon sunlight and heavy rains limited commuters from using the canopy walk while high usage cost and limited coverage to other places deterred people from using the BRT. Insufficient parking spaces is one of the reasons people preferred using public transportation.

The team also monitored carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions throughout the day to assess the impact of traffic congestion and traffic-related air pollution on health. Based on the findings, less than 15% of the people felt that their mental health was affected by traffic congestion.

Dr Arshad Salema

Dr Arshad Salema from the School of Engineering, shared that his journey for solar energy and partnership with Prasarana BRT Sunway originated from riding the electric bus (BRT).

"The Malaysian transport sector consumes about 45% of energy, and they emit 70,000 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. While there may not be any carbon dioxide emission from electric vehicles, they are charged using electricity which inadvertently increases our daily usage of the energy," said Dr Arshad.

The BRT bus currently runs on regular electricity from Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB). Dr Arshad's research focuses on the implementation of solar panels on these buses to decrease the usage of electricity.

In recent years, Malaysia has become one of the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers in the world. The entire solar power industry in Malaysia is currently producing 67% of the 270MW of renewable energy. According to Dr Arshad, we can generate more electricity if all roofs use solar panels, compared to the conventional electricity generation of fossil fuel burning. This move will also significantly reduce carbon dioxide generation in the country.

Excess electricity generated from solar PV systems can be sold to TNB at a higher rate (RM0.60 per kWh) and bought back at a lower price (RM0.20 per kWh).