May 19, 2020

Australian wins high-profile award for irrigation invention

Bizclik Editor
2 min
Australian wins high-profile award for irrigation invention

Following one of Australia’s worst droughts in decades, 27-year-old Edward Linacre set out to create an irrigation system to help farmers in dried-out agricultural land.

Linacre won the 2011 James Dyson Award with his Airdrop irrigation system. This award is a high profile, international student design competition that strives to support design, technology and engineering education, medical research charities and local community projects. The graduate of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne received $15,500, as does his school.

"Winning the prize will mean I can develop and test the Airdrop system,” Linacre said. “It has the potential to help farmers around the world, and I'm up for the challenge of rolling it out."



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The low-cost and self-powered Airdrop extracts water molecules plants cannot access from the air. Solar panels charge battery-powered air turbines that heat and draw air into underground cooling towers. Water within the air condenses after cooling and is collected in underground tanks to be pumped to plants in underground dripper pipes. Farmers can observe the system with an LCD screen that shows tank water levels, pressure strength, solar battery life and overall system health.

The concept for Airdrop was created after observing the Namib beetle, a desert-dwelling insect that consumes early-morning dew collected on its back through its hydrophilic skin. 

"Biomimicry is a powerful weapon in an engineer's armoury," said James Dyson of the James Dyson Foundation. "Airdrop shows how simple, natural principles like the condensation of water can be applied to good effect through skilled design and robust engineering. Young designers and engineers like Ed will develop the simple, effective technology of the future - they will tackle the world's biggest problems and improve lives in the process."

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Jun 7, 2021

Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek

3 min
Singaporean Ho Ching created the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia, before leading Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to global success

Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.

Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.

Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.

Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.

As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.

It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.

But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.

As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.

So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.


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