USM’s green bus badly damaged in fire

Posted on July 18, 2010. Filed under: Energy |

-The Star-

GEORGE TOWN: A solar energy bus which was unveiled by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) two years ago was badly damaged in a fire which is believed to have been caused by short circuit.

Security personnel were shocked when they saw the bus, which was parked near the Sungai Dua entr-ance, on fire at about 12.30pm yes-terday.

Fiery end: The burnt-out interior of the environment-friendly bus.

Firemen at the Perak Road and Paya Terubong fire stations rushed to the scene and put out the blaze within minutes.

The bus, which has various gadgets powered by solar energy, drew a lot of attention when it took part in a World Children’s Day celebration in Kampung Sungai Batu Besi in Merbok in October last year.

USM deputy registrar Mohamad Abdullah said investigations showed that the fire was due to short-circuit.

“Firemen were called in to put out the blaze to prevent it from spreading to nearby cars or buildings,” he said when contacted here yesterday.

Mohamad said they were still ascertaining the losses.

The bus was first unveiled in 2008 by USM in conjunction with the “1st Regional Conference on Sustainable Development: Local Solutions For Global Problems”.

End of the road: The solar-powered bus, which had been in operation since 2008, looks undamaged on the outside after the mid-day fire.

Using recycled oil palm as fuel and solar energy to operate its electrical system, the bus provides hands-on experience on how one can travel in an environment-friendly and sustainable method.

Inside the bus, there are educational computer games and energy-efficient lighting to help increase awareness of the usage of solar energy and energy-efficient equipment.

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