In September 2017 Anthony (Tony) van Sprang was elected ‘Energy Engineer of the Year 2017’ for the Latin America region by the Global Organization Association of Energy Engineers. In a packed Georgia World Congress Center of Atlanta, Van Sprang’s nomination was turned into an award on September 26th.
After the announcement that Van Sprang is the winner of the prestigious award, he climbed the podium in Atlanta to receive his prize. Of course there was the speech:
“The general perception is that technological progression and innovation is not supposed to come from the Caribbean. We are island nations that have a reputation for a relaxed lifestyle on the beach or lying softly swinging in a hammock under a coconut tree. I decided for myself to let go of that paradigm of Caribbean society. You will be amazed what happens when you can convince our people to take ownership of one of the many challenges we face, get them out of their comfort zone, put their reputations on the line, and set their minds to create custom solutions. Elegant technology made for our specific needs will emerge, and generate the technological and economical spin-off required to lift us to true self sufficient nations. But it requires strategy and guts!”
Van Sprang received the prize because of the spectacular breakthrough he effectuated with the OWAC system. OWAC stands for Ocean Water Assisted Cooling. Van Sprang is the first engineer in the world who managed to develop an industrial cooling system with the immediate use of seawater. This breakthrough is based upon two fundamental points: the use of surface water, which makes an expensive pumping system obsolete, and controlling the severely corrosive properties of seawater. The born and raised native of Curaçao developed a prototype, which for three uninterrupted years has been functioning in the building of the Ministry of Finance. Van Sprang learned that the system is not only functioning properly, but also that it is an excellent solution for cooling large buildings in (sub) tropical areas on a structural basis. More over the system also generates a reduction of 70 percent of energy costs (in Curacao). It should also be noted that OWAC is completely climate neutral. No chemicals are used in the OWAC system and the used seawater does not affect the temperature or quality of the seawater, hence OWAC is 100 percent sustainable.
Van Sprang was nominated for the prize by the American of Cuban descent , Alfredo Sotolongo, the Chairman of the Association of Energy Engineers. “The costs of water and energy are high on the Caribbean islands,” he says. “Anthony developed something revolutionary which enables the islands, but also other (sub) tropical areas around the world, to save a lot of water, energy and thus costs. At the same time, the environment will be saved. I am hugely impressed with OWAC and Anthony’s intelligence as well as his tremendous perseverance. He truly believed in this and continued, even though he was being discouraged from all sides. In my opinion he deserves this award!
OWAC is a product of Van Sprang’s company Omega Engineering Inc. and the expectation is that this system will conquer the world.