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Vietnamese engineer recognised for firefighting machine

Update: January, 19/2014 - 18:11

Fighting fire: Pham Dinh Phuong tests the fire extinguishing machine he and his partners invented. The device helped him gain admission to the American Fire Sprinkler Association. — VNS File Photos

by Huu Tra

A Vietnamese engineer living in Da Nang City has been admitted to the American Fire Sprinkler Association for his invention that extinguishes fires.

Phan Dinh Phuong, 63, who is currently General Director of An Sinh Green Science JSC in the city, might be the first Vietnamese to receive such an honour.

Phuong has created over 50 machines which have been widely used throughout the world so far.

In particular, Phuong and his partners invented a fire extinguishing machine in 2010 that operates only using energy generated by fire extinguishing chemicals.

"The system utilised the chemical and physical properties of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to manage a fire alarm, activate an extinguisher and then sprays fire-fighting agents onto the blaze," Phuong said.

The machine includes a combination of tanks that contain chemicals, including Nitrogen (N2), CO2, water, foam and powders, and also has sprinklers and spray valves attached. The machine connects to a fire detecting system.

To fight fires, CO2 is dissolved in water inside the tank to make CO2 foam, or compressed liquid. The compressed CO2 in the tank is under 80 kilograms per square centimetre of pressure and can create enormous levels of energy when released. A cubic metre of liquid CO2 can push 50cu.m of water to a height of 100m for one hour with a force ten times stronger than ordinary pumps.

When the machine senses a fire, it automatically activates within five seconds, as opposed to the current electric water pumping system which needs about three minutes to respond, according to Phuong.

"The machine could also collect used water to spray the fire again," the engineer said, adding that his machine only needs to store about 100cu.m rather than the normal 500-600cu.m as needed by other fire fighting devices.

"The idea of the machine came to my mind in 2000 after I witnessed a market fire which caused hundreds of small traders to lose their shirts," Phuong said.

Neighbourhood improvement: Phuong uses a machine he invented to collect rubbish and clean streets.

The first machine was introduced at HCM City's Fire Fighting and Prevention Fair in 2003. "I and my partners have been perfecting this invention ever since. The machine currently has a low cost and high reliability, and is easily accessible to underdeveloped areas where there is no electricity available."

Of note, the Viet Nam National Office of Intellectual Property and the United States Patent and Trademark Office have issued copyright certificates for the invention to Phuong.

The machine conserves fire- extinguishing chemicals in order to minimise environmental pollution, while ensuring a sufficient amount of fire-extinguishing agents are used in fighting fires, according to the American Fire Sprinkler Association.

"The Fire Fighting and Prevention Police Department's Research Centre for Fire Prevention Science and Technology has signed a co-operation contract with the company for the mass production of the machine," Phuong said.

The HCM City-based TTAGAS Group has used the fire extinguishing system since 2008 to protect its 12-hectare industrial zone in Long An Province, which includes a port, gas transfer factories, a gas tank manufacturing factory and a wood processing zone.

"Hoses lead to all areas, and water flow and the pressure index remain stable at all points and are always ready to protect people and property from fire quickly, without consuming petrol or power," wrote the company in a report about the product.

With his role as general director, Phuong inspired all his staff to make greater efforts in creating useful products.

Phuong has based his life on five principles, which he is always willing to share with youngsters who are passionate about creating things.

"First, you should learn to look at life through the eyes of a child to continually create. Second, you should feel empathetic towards people who are suffering losses or pains, and then you'll invent products with greater usefulness. Third, always question whether there is a better way to make a product. If you decide there is no better way, you will hinder your own progress. Fourth, you should do the opposite of what other people have done. And last but not least, remember to consider praise as momentary encouragement and criticism as a favour that people have bestowed upon us," Phuong said. — VNS

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