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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