SP Group, NTU tie up on $30m research, education initiatives

National power grid operator SP Group has set aside $20 million to launch a joint lab with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and contributed $10 million towards setting up two endowment funds with the university.

The lab, located in NTU, will focus on energy-related projects in the areas of asset management and network operations. When completed next year, the lab will house 60 researchers plus 85 undergraduate and postgraduate students, and serve as a training platform for SP Group's engineers.

The $30 million collaboration will "enhance the resilience of Singapore's electricity network, improve the reliability and efficiency of supply to consumers, and nurture experts for the energy sector", SP Group and NTU said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

One endowment fund, the SP Group Professorship Fund, will support two outstanding faculty members in their research and scholarship.

The other fund, SP Group Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund, will boost early-career scientists and engineers' research in energy and power systems.

Recipients of both funds will contribute to research being done at the lab, the statement added.

Dr Tan See Leng, Second Minister for Trade and Industry, said: "Singapore has one of the most reliable electricity networks globally. We must continue to develop and grow our local capabilities to prepare for the future.

"This collaboration between NTU and SP Group will boost our network resilience and develop innovative solutions that will serve our future energy needs."

The new lab will be equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies so that researchers can analyse and monitor SP Group's assets in real time to predict future network problems before they arise.

Current monitoring techniques can be deployed only on a small scale within the power distribution network, but the new lab will enable SP Group and NTU researchers to design and develop a cost-effective and scalable system using the technologies. This will mark a world's first for Singapore if the system is deployed across the country's power grid.

Celebrating this announcement, SP Group chief executive Stanley Huang said: "In creating a sustainable network for future generations, we are committed to building a strong pipeline of engineering leaders for the energy sector."

NTU president Subra Suresh agreed, adding: "Our partnerships with industry play a critical role in translating our vision of the NTU Smart Campus initiative to harness digital and tech-enabled solutions for the benefit of society and the sustainability of resources."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2020, with the headline 'SP Group, NTU tie up on $30m research, education initiatives'. Print Edition | Subscribe