NTU EEE’s Associate Professor Cai Wenjian has been involved with his very own spin-off company, Air T&D Pte Ltd for some time now! The company was started in 2014, and is focused on research & development of new Air Conditioning Mechanical Ventilation (ACMV) system solutions. The founding team of Air T&D hails from the Green Cooling and Air-Conditioning Technologies (GCAT), which is a part of Nanyang Technological University, School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering (NTU EEE). GCAT spends several years on researching and developing air treatment and distribution system, innovating and optimising building cooling solutions. In particular, to date, the technology of Air T&D has a breakthrough on avoiding condensation.
We find out more from Prof Cai about his inspiring company and its innovative works.
What inspired you to start your spin-off company?
“Here is some interesting information to know: There are only 30% of buildings in Singapore which are considered as a “green building” in 2015. The Singapore government’s goal is to cover at least 80% of the buildings to be “green” by the year 2030. Our ACMV solutions are considerably environmentally friendly and could save more than 30% energy compared to a conventional air-conditioning system! Commercialisation of the technologies can benefit our society as a whole.”
How has NTU supported your spin-off company?
“NTU EEE has been very supportive in the research phase. I hope the School can be more supportive in the promotional aspect of our products, and also provide some financial supports if possible.”
What are some of the achievements of your company to date?
“We have four major types of products & technologies, which are air terminal units, air treatment, air regulation and automation. Air terminal units are designed based on pure physical phenomenon and it could provide higher cooling capacity with better thermal comfort.
Air treatment includes liquid desiccant dehumidification system (LDDS) and energy recovery ventilation (ERV), where LDDS is our patent technology which could effectively treat fresh air with low energy consumption, and ERV could be used in combination of our air regulation products (smart damper) to reduce energy cost and household CO2 concentration.
The existing building management systems (BMS) are only able to provide simple functionalities such as energy monitoring, which could not meet our demands now. While our integrated & intelligent building management system (BSTAR) can provide more advanced control such as energy consumption minimisation. Moreover, BSTAR is cost effective since it provides users with efficient and easy-to-use device scheduling and fault detection system.”
What is the most important thing(s) your company is working on right now, and how are you all going about achieving it?
“Currently, all our products are in progress, we continue to make them better through R&D. Our air terminal units are in a relative mature stage, and we have done several tests and simulations on them. This resulted in some appealing results which ensured our design purpose, and met our design specifications. The company is focused on air treatment and distribution in the ACMV industry. We have four products: 1) Advanced terminals, 2) Liquid desiccant dehumidification systems, 3) Automatic air balancer, and 4) Intelligent energy management system. Each one of them has made a lot of progress compared with the early products.
The most important thing we are achieving right now is to bring our products and technologies to the market. Nowadays, people are getting to know the importance of energy saving air-conditioning systems, however, it is hard to change the overall building technology of air-conditioning systems at this stage since we are pursuing the new technology. Although our new technology does not have any successful cases in the market right now, our intent is to build a showcase of our products around the campus, and let the public to visualise the energy saving benefits and cost effectiveness of our products! This should help to introduce our products to the market. We would also need some financial support for that.”
What are some of the things your company hopes to achieve in a few years’ time?
“We hope to replace the conventional air conditioning systems in the market with our products, which could save more energy with minimal maintenance requirement. This will lead to building a more environmentally friendly and more sustainable society.”
Published on: 25-April-2017