Clean energy plant to power parts of JTC's CleanTech One

SINGAPORE - A $15 million clean energy plant will partially power JTC Corporation's CleanTech One building located in its 50-ha CleanTech Park.

This is the result of a 50-50 joint venture - Sinjia RTE Solutions - announced earlier in March between locally-listed Sinjia Land and homegrown research and development firm Real Time Engineering (RTE).

The one-megawatt plant will start providing carbon-free electricity from hydrogen gas for CleanTech One's common areas by end July.

At maximum capacity, it can produce enough electricity to run about a thousand air-conditioning units at the same time.

RTE founder Wong Song Yeng said at a media briefing on Friday that the plant may be the first of its kind in the world.

"Fuel cell technology is not new, but up till now the high cost of extracting and purifying hydrogen for the generation of electric power has been a strong deterrent," he said.

Mr Wong explained that the plant uses a unique proprietary catalyst to extract hydrogen from water. He estimates this will reduce the cost of obtaining the gas by 90 per cent, compared to purchasing it commercially.

Sinjia Land has committed to an initial working capital of $1 million for the plant, to be delivered in tranches over the next few months.

Initially a manufacturer of precision plastic and metal components, Sinjia Land divested its entire metallic business in late 2011, and went into property development at about the same time.

Sinjia Land chief executive Jeff Cheong said that the decisions were partially due to the narrowing profit margins in the manufacturing sector.

"We are still looking at property...but the market now is not really the best time, whether in terms of land cost or we're looking for a balance," he added.

He expects clean energy technology to make up more than half of the company's turnover within the next three years.