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Two New Consortia To Be Set Up Under Energy Grid 2.0 Programme In Singapore

Two New Consortia To Be Set Up Under Energy Grid 2.0 Programme In Singapore

The National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF) and the Energy Market Authority (EMA) are setting up two new consortia to drive R&D and push for the adoption of novel technologies in the energy sector. The Smart Grid and Power Electronics Consortium Singapore (SPECS) and the Cooling Energy Science and Technology Singapore (CoolestSG) Consortium will bring together research institutes, companies and government agencies to come up with solutions in smart grid and cooling technologies. NRF and EMA will set aside up to S$9 million over three years for both consortia.

Singapore has invested steadily in research in smart grid technologies in the past decade. These investments have grown a strong base of researchers with expertise in the smart grid and power electronics domain. SPECS will provide a platform for companies to access the latest technologies developed by these researchers, and to translate them into commercially-viable products and services.

At the same time, as a tropical country, Singapore needs to develop and deploy efficient cooling technology to improve our liveability in a way that minimises carbon emissions. CoolestSG aims to achieve this by enabling companies and researchers to share facilities to testbed new cooling technologies for deployment.

NRF CEO Professor Low Teck Seng said: “Against the backdrop of the rapidly evolving energy landscape, researchers and companies need to continually rethink the way that energy is stored, managed, and distributed in Singapore. This includes incorporating advanced digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity measures to support a smart, secure and resilient energy infrastructure. The two latest technology consortia will deepen our research capabilities in grid management and cooling technologies, and provide companies a leg-up in commercialising these capabilities.”

EMA CE Mr Ngiam Shih Chun said: “Our energy grid is evolving, with more bidirectional flows and connections to the distribution grid. The establishment of the consortia will provide a platform for our companies to collaborate with institutes of higher learning and research institutes. Developing solutions, such as Solid State Transformers that effectively interface DC loads such as solar and wind with conventional AC sources and loads, and building deep technical expertise to reduce cooling demand that makes up 25% of our electricity consumption are key areas that will contribute towards a future grid system that is more efficient, sustainable and resilient.”

The Smart Grid and Power Electronics Consortium (SPECS) is set up to keep pace with the fast-evolving energy landscape. It will enable companies to work with publicly-funded researchers to translate intellectual property around Energy Grid 2.0 technologies into solutions for deployment and commercialisation. The consortium will focus on areas in advanced power electronics such as solid state transformers, energy management systems such as load and generation balancing, and cybersecurity. Technologies in these areas will help to achieve energy savings, and support a smarter grid system that is secure and resilient.

SPECS is a national consortium that will be hosted at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore). The management board will be co-chaired by the Energy Research Institute @ NTU ([email protected]) and EMA to facilitate the eventual deployment of smart grid and power electronics technologies developed in the Energy Grid 2.0 programme. 17 companies have joined the consortium, including AMETEK Programmable Power Inc, EPI Technology Venture Pte Ltd, IESVE Singapore Pte Ltd, Interwell Pte Ltd, Lite Unite Pte Ltd, Sembcorp Industries Ltd and TransferFi Pte Ltd. See Annex A for the list of companies.

Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Vice President for Research, said: “The SPECS consortium will enable companies to tap the advanced research on energy grid and related technologies in Singapore to develop innovations and services for deployment and commercialisation. It is an integral part of the value chain pathway in the energy ecosystem, which blends industrial experience with translational research excellence such as NTU’s strengths in sustainability, artificial intelligence, and clean energy solutions.”

Matthew Friedman, Chief Digital Officer of integrated energy company, Sembcorp Industries, said: “We are pleased to be part of this consortium that will support the translation of innovative solutions from laboratory to market and the commercialisation of new technologies. We hope such partnerships will bring great benefits to the energy industry and contribute to its long-term growth.”

Cooling Energy Science and Technology Singapore (CoolestSG)

Cooling Energy Science and Technology Singapore (CoolestSG) will develop and accelerate the deployment and commercialisation of cooling technologies, which can be applied to buildings, data centres and industry. Technologies include both active and passive cooling, and cooling by integrated design.

Under CoolestSG, industry partners and research performers will interact and work together to identify relevant topics. They will develop novel solutions that meet the needs of the industry. Companies that join the consortium will get to test their technologies at the facilities of research institutes and government agencies here, such as the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) SkyLab.

Through interactions with government agencies, companies can gain insights into Singapore’s future cooling needs and focus areas. These include policy and industry roadmaps, and programmes that are available to fund the development of the required cooling technologies. The consortium will also be working alongside government agencies to achieve national sustainability goals for energy efficient cooling, including BCA’s Super Low Energy Buildings Technology Roadmap, and the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Green Data Centre Technology Roadmap.

CoolestSG is a national consortium that will be hosted at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Its management board will be co-chaired by senior management from NUS and BCA. A technical committee comprising representatives from NUS, industry and government agencies will provide technical guidance for the consortium and actively engage industry partners to build strong networks and identify pipeline projects. 30 companies including Ascendas-Singbridge Group, CapitaLand Limited, ENGIE Services Asia Pacific, Mitsubishi Electric Asia Pte Ltd, Natflow Pte Ltd, and Shinhan Tech-Engineering Pte Ltd, will be joining the consortium. See Annex B for the list of companies.

Professor Philip Liu Li-Fan, NUS Vice President (Research and Technology) and Co-Chair, CoolestSG Management Board, said: “CoolestSG aims to accelerate the creation of innovative cooling solutions and translating these technological advancements from the lab into real-world applications. Through this unique public-private partnership, academic institutions, government agencies and the industry will team up, pool resources as well as share knowledge and capabilities to co-create cooling technologies that are energy efficient and commercially viable. These industry projects will also serve as training opportunities to build a strong talent pipeline to meet Singapore’s future energy needs.”

Er. Tay Cher Seng, Managing Director, Natflow Pte Ltd, said: “Participating in the CoolestSG consortium will allow Natflow to learn about the latest cooling technology developed by research institutes. We can also work with researchers to provide better energy-saving solutions for our customers.”


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Applied Materials And NUS Launch Advanced Materials Corporate Lab

Applied Materials And NUS launch Advanced Materials Corporate Lab

Applied Materials, Inc. and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have jointly launched the Applied Materials-NUS Advanced Materials Corporate Lab. This is Applied Materials’ first research laboratory jointly set up with a university in Singapore and its establishment is supported by the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF). Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance and Chairman of the NRF, was the Guest-of-Honour at the launch ceremony held at NUS.

The lab combines Applied Materials’ leading expertise in materials engineering and semiconductor technologies with NUS’ world-class and multi-disciplinary R&D capabilities that span across applied chemistry, materials science and microelectronics process engineering. The goal of the collaboration is to accelerate the discovery and commercialisation of new materials for manufacturing next-generation semiconductors. Moore’s Law scaling, the main driver of semiconductor improvements for the past 50 years, is becoming challenged as emerging applications based on A.I. and big data require orders of magnitude improvements in chip performance and efficiency. Thus, materials innovation will have an increasingly important role in achieving these improvements and continuing to advance the industry roadmap.

The Applied Materials-NUS collaboration will focus on R&D in advanced materials engineering with the intent to create innovations that can be quickly transferred into commercial applications. NUS has invested in basic research in advanced materials for more than 20 years, and the collaboration with Applied Materials will tap into the deep scientific knowledge that it has built up in this field.  The parties have identified new materials R&D and processing techniques with a focus on deposition and etching as two key research areas that will help pioneer innovative semiconductor structures and devices.

“Materials engineering has helped enable major advancements in semiconductors for decades, but never before has the need for new materials been greater than it is today,” said Dr. Prabu Raja, Senior Vice President of the Semiconductor Products Group at Applied Materials. “We are excited to launch the Applied Materials-NUS Advanced Materials Corporate Lab and look forward to a successful industry-academia collaboration. NUS and its focus on high-impact, multi-disciplinary science and engineering research make it a great institution to work with on new materials for next-generation semiconductors.”

Over 50 researchers, engineers and doctoral students are expected to be trained at the lab. Professor Aaron Thean from the NUS Faculty of Engineering and Professor Richard Wong from the NUS Faculty of Science will co-lead the lab with Applied Materials to steer greater teamwork and exchange between industry and academia. Applied Materials is also sponsoring S$1.5 million in scholarships for doctoral students at the lab to further help grow the pool of highly skilled talent to support the growth of Singapore’s semiconductor industry.

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “NUS is honoured and privileged to be Applied Materials’ partner for its first university-based research laboratory in Singapore. The Applied Materials-NUS Advanced Materials Corporate Lab will draw on the complementary strengths of both organisations to address complex industry challenges. Successful projects completed under this Corporate Lab could potentially increase microelectronics-related activities in Singapore, and this in turn, could generate significant economic benefits for the country.”

“We are also deeply appreciative of the generous scholarships supported by Applied Materials, which will attract more talented students to pursue doctoral training in advanced materials and engineering. These young talents will further strengthen Singapore’s position as a leading hub for advanced electronics,” Prof Tan added.

The NRF facilitates the setting up of corporate labs via public-private partnerships. The Applied Materials-NUS Advanced Materials Corporate Lab is the 14th supported by the NRF and the fifth lab in NUS.

NRF CEO Professor Low Teck Seng said, “The semiconductor industry is highly competitive and manufacturers need to constantly innovate and upgrade their technology to stay relevant. Investing in R&D is therefore crucial for Singapore’s continued growth in the sector. The partnership between Applied Materials and NUS will introduce next-generation materials for manufacturing advanced semiconductors here. This is part of our strategy to strengthen innovation in the sector to meet the demands of the market through better products and training of our researchers.”

For more information about the Applied Materials-NUS Advanced Materials Corporate Lab, click here.


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NTU And HP Launch Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab To Drive Industry 4.0

NTU And HP Launch Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab To Drive Industry 4.0

SINGAPORE: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), HP and the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF) have launched the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab. As Singapore’s newest corporate research laboratory and HP’s first university laboratory collaboration in Asia and largest university research collaboration worldwide, the HP-NTU Corporate Lab will drive innovation, technology, skills and economic development critical for the advancement of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The $84 million lab will also support Singapore’s push toward industry transformation in the areas of digital manufacturing and 3D printing technologies. This is taken with the view that advanced manufacturing and engineering constitute one of the four technology domains under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan, which is Singapore’s national strategy to develop a knowledge-based innovation-driven economy and society.

Located at NTU, the HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab was launched by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance and Chairman of the NRF. The NRF facilitates the setting up of corporate labs via public-private partnerships and the Corporate Lab is the 13th supported by NRF and the seventh such lab at NTU.

The lab’s 100 researchers and staff will focus on digital manufacturing technologies, specifically in areas of advancing 3D printing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, new materials and applications, cybersecurity and customisation.

The partnership was inked by NTU Vice President (Research) Professor Lam Khin Yong and HP Chief Technology Officer and Head of HP Labs Mr Shane Wall. It was witnessed by Guest-of-Honour Minister for Finance and NRF Chairman Mr Heng Swee Keat, NTU President Professor Subra Suresh, and HP Chief Executive Officer and President Mr Dion Weisler.

NRF CEO Professor Low Teck Seng has said, “Corporate laboratories are an integral part of our strategy to anchor joint R&D partnerships between our universities and companies in areas that have direct relevance to the growth of industries in Singapore. The HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Laboratory is significant to our long-term competitiveness in the advanced manufacturing sector, and ensures that we stay relevant in the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is evolving and growing rapidly world-wide. It will also strengthen our capabilities to support multinational companies for expansion from Singapore into the region.”

NTU President Professor Subra Suresh has said that the partnership with HP is a significant milestone for NTU, as 3D printing – along with adjacent technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cybersecurity – are integral parts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“NTU has established deep capabilities and is a recognised leader in the areas of machine learning, data science and additive manufacturing. These cutting-edge technologies are now an integral part of NTU’s education and research ecosystem, and the NTU Smart Campus serves as a test bed for them. This is aligned with Singapore’s vision of transforming into a Smart Nation,” Professor Suresh said. “Together with HP Inc., a renowned innovator and leader in the tech industry, NTU seeks to address today’s fundamental challenges with solutions that will benefit both industry and society in Singapore and the world, such as developing automation that is capable of boosting manufacturing productivity,” he continued.

“The World Economic Forum estimates more than $100 trillion in value will be created by digital transformation across all industries in the next 10 years,” said Dion Weisler, CEO and President, HP. HP is helping to lead the development of the underlying technologies, like 3D printing, that will enable the benefits of this transformation. Singapore is one of our key worldwide technology development and manufacturing centres in print technology. The HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Lab will significantly deepen our involvement here and serve as a nucleus for this ecosystem. We are proud to collaborate with NTU and we are looking forward to this becoming a blueprint for innovation, collaboration and economic progress.”

The new Corporate Lab will be a key pillar of NTU’s Smart Campus initiative and will build on HP’s strong research and manufacturing capabilities.

Once launched, the lab will prioritise 15 projects to better understand:

  • New materials and applications: such as advanced polymers for manufacturing applications, the development of bioprinting models toward printing viable tissues, and 4D printed smart systems that adapt shape with temperature change
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning: helping printers autonomously predict and resolve issues
  • Cybersecurity: research to improve end-to-end point security infrastructure and malware mitigation

The collaboration will also include developing educational curriculums on designing for Additive Manufacturing – covering areas such as data management, security, user experience and business models.

“One out of every three jobs worldwide, more than 30% of global GDP, and nearly one-third of carbon emissions are related to manufacturing,” said Mr Weisler. “We are committed to innovating with purpose, not only driving the technology breakthroughs that improve HP’s business but also contribute to creating economic opportunity and improving people’s lives.”

HP began its presence in Singapore in 1970. Today, Singapore is home to its Asia Pacific & Japan Regional Headquarters, global supply chain control towers, and print manufacturing.


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