Tragedy inspires development of car cooling device

NO MORE HEAT TRAP::The device integrates a thermostat, fan and solar panel and can be installed on a vehicle’s sunroof to provide a cooling effect

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - Page 3

A newly developed cooling device for cars, which was inspired by the tragic death of a child five years ago, was presented at a ceremony held by the Ministry of Education earlier this week to encourage cooperation between colleges and industry.

Ta Hwa University of Science and Technology dean for research and development Duh Feng-chyi (杜鳳棋) invented the low-cost device by integrating a thermostat, fan and solar panel.

Duh said he was saddened by news reports about a child who died of suffocation while being locked inside a school bus in 2008. He then started working on his invention, designing a system that can adjust the temperature inside a vehicle to as low as 12°C.

The fan device — which can be installed on a vehicle’s sunroof — is powered by solar energy, Duh said.

When the sensor detects high temperatures in a car, the sunroof will open to trigger the cooling device, providing a cooling effect. On the other hand, when humidity is high, the sunroof will close in anticipation of rainfall, Duh said.

The device is also environmentally friendly, as it could help reduce the need for air conditioning inside a vehicle during summer, he added.

Car manufacturers are hoping to install the cooling device in tourist buses, which have standard-sized sunroofs, Duh said.

A total of nine inventions sponsored by the ministry were displayed at the ceremony.

Nicole Lee (李彥儀), director of the ministry’s Department of Technology and Vocational Education, said the cooperation project, initiated in 2005, was aimed at helping schools better connect with industry, especially with small and medium-sized companies that lack research funds and capabilities.