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'Cool Screen' the 19th Team to Qualify for this Year's MIT Semi-finalist Round

This story is provided by MIT Enterprise Forum - Pan-Arab Region.

Egyptian “Cool Screen” has been selected as one of the semi-finalist teams for this year’s MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Region Start-Up Competition for the Ideas Track

Omar Rabie is in the process of establishing his own design studio; “Unitary Design Studio” which is developing innovative architectural screens−of perforated porous ceramic blocks−capable of speeding, regulating, and cooling air flow, through geometric articulation and natural evaporative cooling. A contemporary reinterpretation of traditional architectural components, with proven efficiency, the proposed product is a step towards achieving thermal comfort in hot regions, while reducing energy consumption and pollution of mechanical air conditioning (AC). We interviewed Omar to know more about his project and where the idea for Cool Screen was inspired from.

Idea Inspiration:

“As an architectural designer, I always wondered whether we have fully revealed the potential of the most common building components, like a brick. Can a piece of brick do more than building a wall? Can we, for example, design brick units to cool or heat our spaces, generate or store energy? I investigated the potential of rethinking traditional brick units, through academic experimental research conducted first at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), then the Sustainable Environmental Design program (SED), at the Architectural Association (AA London). The three years of investigation eventually lead to developing elementary prototypes of innovative bricks with proven attributes to help cool buildings, while saving energy.” Commented Omar when asked where he got the idea for such a project.

Innovating the Cooling Process

The excessive use of AC’s represents one of the most pressing global environmental challenges today because of its high contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and energy peak loads. While AC peak loads have been responsible for electricity supply problems in developed countries such as the United States and some parts of Europe, it is the main reason for recurrent electricity supply disruptions in developing countries such as India and Egypt.

Cool Screen aims at solving this problem by integrating the function of cooling into affordable architectural components such as ceramic blocks in addition to utilizing natural elements such as air and water to innovate efficient and sustainable cooling techniques. The project has implications on both the environmental and social level since it offers underprivileged communities affordable techniques to achieve thermal comfort especially in extremely hot regions all in an environmentally friendly manner.

“We create buildings, then add energy expensive mechanical devices, to assure their occupants’ thermal comfort. I believe such a common notion can and should be challenged through a new generation of innovative building components. Can we, for example, naturally cool buildings, in hot and warm zones, through their architectural skins?” says Omar.

The company has potential to go global especially since there is a high need for energy conserving affordable cooling devices worldwide. “The production of different variations of the proposed ceramic blocks screens may expand to cover several developing markets in hot regions, including parts of Brazil, India, Chine, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as developed markets like parts of Southern-Europe, Australia, and the United States. “ concluded Omar.

On Participating in the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Start-Up Competition:

“The earlier prototypes of this product, were created when I was still a student MIT. At that time, few professors and students advised me to participate in the MIT 100K entrepreneurship competition because my idea was still not ready. I needed to work more on developing my product and proving its viability which I eventually did. A few years later, I was thrilled to hear about the new version of the competition to support Arab entrepreneurs and I realized that this was an opportunity not to be missed.” Concluded Omar.

Cool Screen will attend a two day workshop in Qatar in April 25 along with 49 other teams, where they will receive coaching, training and network with other entrepreneurs from the Arab region and meet the region’s major players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Find out more about Cool Screen by:

Watching their 1 minute pitch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUa4IlDUlE0&feature=youtu.be


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