S'pore pledges $10m in new funds, making more investments in low-carbon technology

A new grant will help to support prototyping and demonstration of solutions on Jurong Island over the next two years. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Singapore is putting more money into low-carbon research, with two new funds totalling $10 million launched on Monday (Oct 25).

An earlier announced low-carbon energy research funding initiative has also been expanded from the original $49 million to $55 million, with the money going to 12 research projects in the areas of hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage.

These announcements were made by various organisations on Monday (Oct 25) at the opening of the Singapore International Energy Week - a five-day conference on energy issues held in hybrid format at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands.

Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said: "With limited natural resources, Singapore must be resourceful and find creative ways to harness energy.

"A key prong of our energy transition strategy is to invest in technology and innovation to address our energy challenges and sustainable development objectives."

The new funding initiatives include a $4 million partnership between the Energy Market Authority (EMA) and technology company Envision Digital International to help local energy companies focus on renewable energy, urban energy efficiency and low-carbon solutions.

Another $6 million from EMA and industrial developer JTC, with support from Enterprise Singapore, will fund successful ideas submitted under the Jurong Island renewable energy request for proposals. The proposals are to be targeted at accelerating the development of clean energy innovations for implementation on the island.

Jurong Island is Singapore's petrochemical haven, and home to many large emitters. The grant will help to support prototyping and demonstration of solutions on Jurong Island over the next two years, including renewable energy, energy storage systems and low-carbon solutions.

JTC chief executive Tan Boon Khai said estates such as Jurong Island serve as living test beds for innovation and sustainability technology adoption.

"Energy transformation requires a diverse mix of innovative technologies and we are pleased to work with EMA to support the acceleration of emerging low-carbon technologies," he said. " Such solutions when successfully deployed, will cut carbon emissions on Jurong Island and bring us one step closer to the island's transformation into a sustainable energy and chemicals park."

Such a vision for Jurong Island was highlighted under the Singapore Green Plan 2030 -the country's blueprint to cut its carbon emissions.

As for the Low-Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative - jointly organised by five agencies including EMA, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Economic Development Board, National Climate Change Secretariat and the National Research Foundation (NRF) - it was first announced in October 2020 at a quantum of $49 million.

Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng speaking at the the opening of Singapore International Energy Week at Marina Bay Sands on Oct 25, 2021. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

But this has been expanded to $55 million, with 12 projects that focus on two key areas: hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies.

Hydrogen, if produced in a green way, can serve as a fuel that burns without producing planet-warming carbon dioxide. Carbon capture technologies will allow the gas to be taken in from the atmosphere and either converted into other useful substances or stored underground.

Of the 12 projects, four focus on hydrogen.

Projects funded under the initiative will go towards reducing costs and increasing efficiencies of hydrogen-related processes, said the five agencies. For example, projects will look at developing easier ways to transport hydrogen by using ammonia, and enabling the safe deployment of hydrogen by developing sensors to detect hydrogen leaks.

The remaining eight projects will look at carbon capture.

Projects will, among other things, explore areas such as using captured carbon dioxide to make alternatives to sand which can be used in construction, or commodity chemicals for industrial processes.

NRF chief executive Low Teck Seng said the 12 awarded projects reflect Singapore's strong research capabilities and the ecosystem's collective efforts.

"This is also evident with the increase in funding to the (initiative) to support these impactful projects," he said.

"The public-private partnerships of the projects are essential in developing cost-effective low-carbon energy technologies in the domains of hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage for delivering carbon abatement for Singapore."

Research into low-carbon options is one strategy that Singapore is investing in to reduce its carbon footprint. In the shorter term, the country is looking to deploy more solar panels and import low-carbon electricity from abroad.

Said Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong: "Electricity imports play an important role in our energy transition. But we cannot rely on them alone to decarbonise our electricity. We will also need to explore new energy solutions, to meet both our long-term energy needs and low-emissions target."

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