Local technology to help National Day Parade audience stay cool

The cooling units will be operational at the special needs area during the performance, and will also be keeping the security clearance and fun pack collection queues cool.
The cooling units will be operational at the special needs area during the performance, and will also be keeping the security clearance and fun pack collection queues cool. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - As the excitement for the National Day Parade (NDP) heats up, spectators at the performance can look forward to staying cool. For the first time, some sections of the audience will be able to enjoy cooler air during the day - thanks to a collaboration between two local engineering firms.

The technology sponsored by ST Engineering and SP Group will be used in three areas. The cooling units will be operational at the special needs area during the performance, and will also be keeping the security clearance and fun pack collection queues cool.

According to Mr Gareth Tang, 37, General Manager of Innosparks, an Open Lab by ST Engineering, each unit can cool 40 to 50 people across an area of 25 sq m. The partnership sees the companies jointly sponsoring 29 units for the event.

The collaboration plugs ST Engineering's Airbitat cooling system launched in 2016 into SP Group's Underground District Cooling System that has been serving Marina Bay Sands since 2010. The hybrid technology draws unusable chilled water that has already been used to cool indoor spaces and pipes it into the Airbitat system. This water is then used to cool air in outdoor spaces.

The hybrid system allows the Airbitat to keep users cool at a cost that is 10 times lower than that for traditional air conditioning units. For the full day of NDP festivities, the units will cost about a dollar each to operate.

The technology will also use 90 per cent less energy than conventional systems. When asked about the cost of the hybrid system itself, the organisations declined to elaborate.

In a launch event held on Thursday (July 27) at The Float@Marina Bay, ST Engineering and SP Group announced the collaboration that is being trialled for the first time at this year's NDP.

SP Group managing director Jimmy Khoo said at the launch: "We are choosing to launch at NDP because this technology is Singapore-made, by two Singaporean engineering firms. The NDP is a perfect opportunity to showcase Singaporean companies solving a issue that is very relevant in Singapore."

Beyond the NDP, the technology could be used in any outdoor area in a district served by an underground water cooling system.

The two companies expressed interest in expanding into outdoor spaces for events as well as alfresco dining areas such as cafes and coffee shops.