JTC calls for ideas to boost Jurong Island’s sustainability efforts, circular economy

The Jurong Island Circular Economy study analysed data on energy, water and chemical waste from 51 companies.
The Jurong Island Circular Economy study analysed data on energy, water and chemical waste from 51 companies.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE – A two-year study to reduce the use of resources and transform Jurong Island into a sustainable energy and chemicals park – in line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030 – was recently concluded. 

Led by JTC, the Jurong Island Circular Economy (Jice) study analysed data on energy, water and chemical waste from 51 companies, to identify potential synergies that can reduce resource use at the system level. 

JTC on Thursday (Aug 19) also called for sustainability solutions to current challenges, that would see more companies crowdsource ideas, as well as develop and test bed their technology on the island.

Speaking at the Jice study closing webinar on Thursday, Manpower Minister and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said Jurong Island is at the “epicentre” of Singapore’s effort to achieve its climate commitments.

It is one of the world’s leading energy and chemicals hubs, and home to more than 100 leading companies. 

As at last year, Jurong Island generated about 8.1 megawatt-peak (MWp) of solar energy, recycled 6.5 million cubic metres of freshwater, and saved 58.8 million cubic metres of freshwater by using seawater instead, said Dr Tan. 

This is equivalent to 26,000 Olympic-size pools. 

He noted that the Jurong Island community has also raised nearly $750,000 to plant 34,000 trees by next year, which will help reduce the urban heat island effect. 

He said: "But for our sustainability efforts to really take off, we need to go much further.

“Our industries must transform and achieve breakthroughs in carbon and energy efficiency... and that’s where taking a circular economy approach can make a meaningful difference.” 

As part of an integrated ecosystem for the energy and chemical industry, many companies on Jurong Island are linked by pipelines that facilitate the transport and exchange of materials. 

They also share infrastructures and utilities, such as power plants and storage facilities. 

Reusing resources

The study launched in 2019 sought to identify ways to optimise the use, sharing and reuse of resources among these companies. 

It has also presented several challenges and opportunities for collaboration to transform Jurong Island into a sustainable energy and chemicals park. 

For instance, the use of cleaner energy such as solar power has the potential to be scaled up, though more innovation is needed to ramp up solar installation in areas near or within the process plants on the island. 

JTC said that companies with large roof spaces have begun deploying solar panels on their roofs, with the total solar capacity standing at 8.1 MWp – equivalent to the power needs of about 1,435 households a year. 

“To date, we have received interest from about 20 companies to solarise their spaces, adding a potential of 9.6 MWp of installed solar capacity, equivalent to powering an additional 1,700 households a year,” it added. 

Another outcome of the study – a project, already under way, to harness cold energy efficiently from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on Jurong Island. 

Cold energy is a by-product of the LNG regasification process. It can be captured, stored, transported and recycled for use in areas such as air-conditioning, refrigeration, or even to propel an engine. 

The project, known as the Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) Extraction Facility, is a collaboration between Singapore LNG Corp and Keppel Infrastructure. 

If successful, this could be tapped by companies to increase their clean energy mix and reduce their carbon footprint, said JTC.

Other opportunities for collaboration include maximising water recycling and recovery, and to test bed more sustainable chemical waste treatment and recovery technologies. 

JTC did not reveal waste volumes generated among the companies and any targets for reducing carbon emissions. 

Solutions needed

On Thursday, it announced two innovation calls. 

The first, the Jurong Island Innovation Challenge (JIIC), will give start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises up to $2 million in grants each to develop solutions and support industry adoption, as part of efforts to enhance the sustainability and the circularity of resources.

Some of the biggest industry players on Jurong Island, such as Chevron Oronite, Shell and Singapore LNG, have submitted 10 challenge statements on boosting resource efficiency efforts. 

For example, Shell will further explore innovative methods to extract valuable resources from waste and reduce the amount of waste sent for incineration. 

Participating firms can submit proposals in response to these challenge statements. 

The second innovation call, known as the Jurong Island Renewable Energy Request-for-Proposals, will be launched in October. 

This will focus on test-bedding innovative energy solutions such as the use of renewable energy and energy storage systems to reduce the island’s carbon footprint. 

Examples may include testing the use of high-efficiency solar panels and solar deployment on pipe racks and storage tanks.

This innovation call follows an earlier request-for-information exercise that saw strong interest from the industry and research community with 39 proposals received. 

JTC chief executive Tan Boon Khai said: “JTC is working with companies and stakeholders to pilot new sustainability innovations and capture opportunities in the circular economy. 

“As Jurong Island transforms into a more sustainable energy and chemicals park, it can play a leading role in spurring game-changing technologies, making it more competitive and sustainable in the long term.”