Winning smiles: (from left) Judges Melissa Tan and Wan Seri Rahayu, Lee, Lim, Go, Salehah, TNB chief sustainability officer Leo Pui Yong, TNB corporate branding head Shaiful Amrin Abdul Karim and judge Aishah Mokhtar.

University students showcase sustainable creativity through art installations from recycled materials in TNB’s Reimagining The Future programme

A BUTTERFLY flaps its wings with grace; its body illuminated by a single bulb beneath it for an enchanting effect. But this isn’t a living, breathing insect.

Instead, it is powered by an assembly of recycled materials, including bicycle and car engine gears, wires, car exhaust pipes, a paddle, LED strips, a dynamo motor, a catalytic converter, a rusting iron rod and a tyre ring.

Aptly named “Amp-li-FLY”, this creation won the hearts of the judges, which secured its team creators first place in Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB)’s recent Reimagining The Future programme.

The programme is among TNB’s numerous initiatives to commemorate its 75th anniversary this year.

Calling themselves “To-GATHER”, the four-member team consists of Go Jing Jie, Salehah Athar, Eunice Lim, and Catherine Lee ― all of whom are Interior Design students from The Malaysian Institute of Art, Kuala Lumpur.

According to them, the showpiece signifies how small, yet responsible actions by individuals – as represented by the motley of materials including metal scraps used for vehicle components to symbolise urban carbon emissions – can bring us a step closer to achieving the nation’s nett-zero goal by 2050.

“We all individually have something to do, we cannot just sit back and watch people magically make this earth greener.

“It’s about how these chains interconnect and lead to the butterfly flapping.

“It’s about all our actions, no matter how little, that make a difference,” Salehah pointed out.

When they were looking for recycled materials, Go added that they were shocked to find how much metal waste was lying around where some workshops were situated.

“We saw an opportunity to change the perception of people on the use of other means of transport such as trains, or even walking or cycling instead of driving and adding to carbon emissions,” he said.

For future generations, by future generations

Reimagining The Future programme is part of TNB’s Better Energy University Engagement campaign in reaching nett-zero and being coal-free by 2050.

With the theme Accelerating Responsible Energy Transition Together towards Net Zero 2050, TNB partnered with eight higher education institutions to bring together students from all areas of interest to collaborate and work together in creating showpiece installations made of recycled materials.

A total of 64 students, organised into 16 groups, took part in this programme.

It included workshops introducing them to TNB and its sustainability initiatives, along with talks by industry experts covering topics such as zero waste, climate change, and sustainable built environments.

The programme culminated in the final project presentation, where winning entries were selected based on criteria such as innovation, creativity, alignment with the theme, sustainability and material use, aesthetic appeal, engineering and structural integrity, as well as the clarity and impact of the message.

TNB strategic corporate communications head Wan Seri Rahayu Wan Mohd Said, who was also a judge, highlighted that the programme aims to play a role in educating the next generation about sustainability and the ongoing energy transition.

“We hope that it will inspire, and spread awareness and understanding about the subject matter as we truly believe that energy transition can happen.

“But it has to start with every individual, and we don’t want to forget the younger generation who are our future leaders in shaping a sustainable tomorrow.

“Sustainability and energy is quite a complex topic and not everyone understands it.

“This platform allows students to innovate and be creative, and I think that gives the public a better way to gain an understanding of it — in a simple manner,” she said.

Wan Seri Rahayu added that they also hope the students can become ambassadors or influencers among their peers, and share their knowledge about renewables to their friends and the community.

Additionally, the programme serves as a way to nurture more talent in the energy sector, as it is not a common term compared to banking or the tech sector.

“Whether we like it or not, global data shows that there’s a gap in bringing out talents in the energy sector ― we need skills like renewable energy specialist and data scientist.

“We want to show the next generation that regardless of what they study, the energy sector is an exciting industry.

“A lot of industry players from different sectors are in the ecosystem of energy transition.

“Therefore, we hope this will open up their minds to see that this is the future, and everyone can play a part to contribute towards it,” Wan Seri Rahayu said.

From scraps to statements

The winning team, To-GATHER, took home the grand prize of RM8,000.

In second place was Eco Warriors from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, who bagged RM6,000, while Eco Vanguard from Universiti Teknologi MARA, who came in third, received RM4,000.

(From left) Ong Li Kang, Ng Kai Wei, Chong Kai Wen and Kok Lek Cheng of Team Eco Warriors showcasing the vital role of renewables in cities of the future through their piece Future.(From left) Ong Li Kang, Ng Kai Wei, Chong Kai Wen and Kok Lek Cheng of Team Eco Warriors showcasing the vital role of renewables in cities of the future through their piece Future.

Team Eco Warriors presented a miniature landscape featuring a path leading to both a polluted area and a green space dotted with wind turbines, solar panels, and biomass-powered buildings, all crafted from recycled materials.

The design symbolised the crucial role of renewable energy in the future, emphasising the limitless possibilities when committing to achieving nett zero emissions by 2050.

On the other hand, the Eco Vanguard team built a human head out of old computer chips and mechanical parts.

This art installation aims to symbolise consumerism and the mentality of humans on discarding gadgets that are still functional in order to follow the latest trend.

The level of creativity and ideas of all the groups, and their understanding of the subject matter, made a lasting impact and resonated with everyone present.

(From left) Abdul Falakh, Imran Marzuqi, Amirul Nur Hakim and Nurul Fatihah of Team Eco Vanguard with their creation, crafted out of discarded computer chips and mechanical parts.(From left) Abdul Falakh, Imran Marzuqi, Amirul Nur Hakim and Nurul Fatihah of Team Eco Vanguard with their creation, crafted out of discarded computer chips and mechanical parts.

Wan Seri Rahayu observed that there were students from different faculties such as engineering, architecture and arts working together in a team.

“They have shown that collaboration is truly key, because they delivered amazing results in just under three weeks,” she pointed out.

She also praised the students for being able to articulate their concepts that translated into creative artwork, despite being posed challenging questions.

For more details, visit TNB’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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