Cassandra Seah & Darren Mok
Project: Free Wind
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
Free Wind was conceived from our motto “Bringing Abundance to Scarcity” and aims to make use of free energy to create cooler living environments. We aim to cool spaces down by capturing wind from all four directions and channelling it into homes. It is also cost-efficient, uses zero electricity and is environmentally friendly as it uses natural elements to cool spaces down passively. Users also need not pay additional fees to reduce the temperature by 1 to 2 degrees using air-conditioning or fans. This is beneficial in terms of cost savings in urban environments. However, in slums, especially those that may experience heat waves, it is particularly crucial to cool naturally with no variable long term costs as the resources should be spent on more important commodities like food and water.
WHAT HAS INFLUENCED YOUR PROJECT?
We started this project as students from NTU and we hope it sends a message to our peers and friends that it is never too early for a student to make an impact. The belief that we, as students, cannot change much, has to be challenged. We need projects and products that have the capabilities to show and prove to our peers and the generations after us that we, the young can improve and save our world.
In developing countries, a home, a place of rest can instead be a resting place for another. With increasing temperatures, people living in slums often have to make life or death decisions with the scarce amount of resources they have. Heat claims the lives of the vulnerable, especially people living in slums. In 2015, the official number of heat wave related deaths in India exceeded 2,000, although reported cases exceeded 3,000. With increasing temperatures these are some of the consequences that we have to prevent.
DESCRIBE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS
This project began as an 18 hour ideathon with IKEA and Young Designer Award on the 29th of June 2017. Initially, there were only three people in the team. Reducing deaths caused by heat waves was our primary concern. We explored and discovered the problem, existing solutions and environment (physical, social and economic) before developing a plethora of ideas on how we could resolve or reduce the issues’ problems. The team developed the idea and further improved it together, creating CAD designs, videos, prototypes and models for the pitch. There were many iterations as we progressed, modifying and adapting the design to suit the requirements.
As we further developed the idea, materials changed, manufacturing methods were modified and size, scale as well as form were altered to create a more effective and efficient product. We have recently assembled teams for the engineering, business and product side, including professors and graduate students. We also have access to engineering equipments like wind tunnels for simulations as well as full support from the Engineering Faculty in NTU. As we factor in real-life constraints, we create CFD simulations and models to test for cooling energy savings. This will always be an ongoing process where we iterate and improve our design to suit our users’ and customers’ needs.
ABOUT FREE WIND
Heatwaves, that make thousands of victims in the poorest areas of the world, are projected to occur more often and be more intense in the future. Free Wind aims to provide relief at the lowest cost possible to reduce future heatwave related deaths. Inspired by wind catchers in Iran as well as the Eco Cooler from Bangladesh, Free Wind utilises the compression of air to produce cooler air, channelled through the house in a constant cycle. Made of 100% biodegradable material, Free Wind is modularly designed to be used in different places around the house.