Alumni Kaleidoscope: Praveen Balaj - MSc(MECH)
While pursuing his graduate studies at HKUST, Praveen learned of the Ford-HKUST Conservation & Environmental Research Grants – a unique collaboration between Ford Motor Company and HKUST to encourage innovative thinking by Master of Science students and help them apply their ideas to environmental and conservation issues, with a focus on green technologies and transportation – and decided that he would come up with a more sustainable method of air conditioning for vehicles.
Praveen's design takes an existing technology, typically used in large buildings, and adapts it to work for automobiles. Unlike conventional air-conditioning systems, his version is powered by existing adsorption technology along with waste exhaust heat from the engine, which removes the need for a compressor and makes the design both simpler and more efficient.
His new approach won one of the Ford-HKUST Research grants, and with support from Ford's engineers, Praveen was able to build a working prototype after just eight months. He is now working as a Sheet Metal Formability Engineer at Ford India where he is responsible for developing the company's Asia Pacific Stamping Feasibility team.