Friday, April 3, 2009

Deservedly Sabahan Hero

Tambunan: Some 200 residents of Kampung Libang Laut, a half hour's drive from here, have farmer-cum-handyman Hamid Jasmin to thank for now that they can enjoy 24-hour virtually free power supply. The 42-year old Hamid managed to build two working mini hydro power generators at the village that supplied power for 16 households in the village for the past five years.

Something that the Sabah Electricity Board (SESB) could not do in all its years of existence as the State's utility supplier for various reasons. His ingenuity did not go unnoticed when Sirim Berhad and non-governmental organisation World Association Industrial and Technological Research Organisation (Waitro) with the collaboration of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) decided to take Hamid's idea a step further to enable the whole village to enjoy power supply.

In February 2009, the newest mini hydro power system with a capacity of 40kW in the village costing around RM300,000 funded by Waitro was unveiled in a ceremony officiated by Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Rural Development Minister, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

The heroic work of the humble handyman is so inspiring, I wanted to visit this hydro-electric generator (Hygens) so badly. Earlier, I wrote to TV3 to obtain more information about the mini Hygens at a remote village in Ranau, covered by TV3's Karam Singh but I never really get any help from them. I think the "caring" TV station isn't so caring after all.

Road junction leading to Kg Libang Laut. It is a gravel road all the way, except for short span of tarred section.

Sometime in March 2009 we managed to make some arrangement to visit Kg Libang Laut and we were supposed to meet Mr Hamid and his DIY Hygens. Unfortunately he was not around at that time, but his son and another gentleman were there to show us around and we felt very welcomed by their warm friendship and willingness to answer our every question.

Conceptual diagram of the new hydro power system

Waterwheel of the older Hygens (above), and the second Hygens (below). The single phase generator gives about 180V to 190V of electricity.

The latest mini hydro power system (pic below) with a capacity of 40KW costing around RM300,000 was funded by World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organisation (Waitro)

The 4-stage speed control mechanism (pic below) in the newer Hygens is very 'heavy' and could result in much shorter lifespan of the rotating elements. In fact, during our visit some bearings have already worn out. They may want to consider increasing the size of the UCP bearings.

The speed-increasing gears (stage one located outside the building) consist of sprockets and 4-way pulley for final transmission.

Tambunan town (pic) is about 30 minutes from Kg Libang Laut.

No comments: