Inventor behind water-saving polymer unveils powder fire extinguisher

Ibrahim M. Alalim, left, explains his inventions on fire-fighting on water technology during the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah last June. At right is Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and at center is IDB President Ahmad Mohamed Ali.

Ibrahim M. Alalim, left, explains his inventions on fire-fighting on water technology during the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah last June. At right is Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and at center is IDB President Ahmad Mohamed Ali.

A Saudi engineer who had earlier invented a polymer that helps save water for agricultural purposes has also come up with a technology that extinguishes fires.

“The technology, called Universal Safe Fire Fighting Cooling Powder, involves a foam that extinguishes a 2,000 degree Centigrade fire in only 26 to 27 seconds,” Riyadh-based Ibrahim M. Alalim told Arab News.

He presented his invention, including the polymer technology, during the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah in June this year. On that occasion, the IDB presented Islamic inventions.

For his invention, the 70-year-old engineer has received eight global awards. Four came from the Austria-based Energy Globe Award for Sustainability and the other four from Who’s Who and the United States.

“I hit upon the idea of inventing this fire-fighting foam after the oil fields of Kuwait were set on fire by Iraqi soldiers who invaded the country on Aug. 2, 1990,” Alalim said.

Setting the oil fields on fire was part of the Iraqis’ “scorched earth policy,” while retreating from Kuwait in 1991 due to the advances of coalition military forces during the Persian Gulf War.

Alalim said that two big local firms in Alkhobar and in the Saudi capital have expressed interest in his invention and that negotiations are under way, adding that foreign firms are already using his technology.

“I am ready to show anybody in the Kingdom or overseas the efficacy of my invention if and when they request a demonstration,” Alalim told Arab News.

He said that “my invention involves a portable fire extinguisher being pumped with the use of a host with a special gun.”

“By doing so, there’s a special outlet to make the air accelerate and create the foam,” he said, adding that creating the foam involves two factors.

One is bringing down the temperature from 2,000 degree Centigrade, he said.

The oxygen is then isolated, which causes the fire. Another is after the fire has been extinguished, the foam is cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.

The Energy Globe Award aims to create awareness concerning solutions to environmental problems and to demonstrate that anybody can make a positive contribution.

“The winning projects serve as examples to other aspiring inventors and presented on Energy Globe website and project database. The first-prize winner in the international category receives 10,000 euros,” Alalim said.

He said that his invention draws its roots from the Holy Qur’an.

 
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