12 Projects Awarded $55 Million to Accelerate Decarbonisation in Singapore

Under the Low-Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative (LCER FI), the Singapore Government has awarded $55 million to support 12 research, development and demonstration projects on low-carbon energy technology solutions. This significant investment in low-carbon energy solutions is part of the Singapore Energy Story1, and will support our ambitions under the Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy2 and the Singapore Green Plan3.

2  On the importance of the LCER FI award, Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Gan Kim Yong said: “As an alternative energy-disadvantaged country, we have to invest early in low-carbon energy technologies such as hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), so that we are able to meet emission targets in 2050 and beyond. They will complement decarbonisation efforts such as solar deployment and low-carbon electricity imports into Singapore, which can contribute to emission cuts in the nearer term. The first LCER FI grant call saw the submission of more than 50 strong research proposals across a wide range of emerging hydrogen and CCUS solutions. This is encouraging. It is a testament to Singapore’s research and development capabilities, which will play a key role in our collective efforts to build a more sustainable future.”

3  Funds awarded are from the $49 million LCER FI announced in October 2020 with additional funding support from the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 (RIE2025) budget. The 12 awarded projects will improve the technical and economic feasibility of implementing low-carbon technologies that support the decarbonisation of Singapore’s power and industry sectors, across two key areas:

  1. Hydrogen: Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that can be used to store and transport energy. It does not emit carbon dioxide when used as fuel and has the potential to diversify Singapore’s fuel mix. However, at this point hydrogen is too expensive to be used widely. Projects funded under the LCER FI will go towards reducing costs and increasing efficiencies of hydrogen-related processes. 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. One project will explore reducing the cost of using Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers for the transportation of hydrogen.
  2. Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS): CCUS has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by capturing and converting CO2 emissions from power plants and industrial facilities into useful products (e.g. building materials, reclamation sand and synthetic fuels), or for storage underground. Projects will explore using captured CO2 to make alternatives to sand which can be used for construction purposes. Others include developing CO2 capture technologies such as novel membranes or novel materials to absorb CO2 using ashes collected from Singapore’s waste-to-energy facilities. One project will also explore the use of captured CO2 and water to produce important commodity chemicals for industrial processes.

 

(Details of all awarded projects can be found in Annex A).

4  The LCER FI is a multi-agency initiative involving the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the Economic Development Board (EDB), the Energy Market Authority (EMA), the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS), and the National Research Foundation (NRF). It is co-driven by EDB and EMA to guide private sector consortia on the development and deployment of low-carbon solutions, the development of hydrogen supply chains, and to ensure projects awarded are relevant to the industrial and power sectors. The 12 awarded projects were selected after a grant call was launched in January 2021 by A*STAR, as the implementing agency on behalf of the government.

5  Emerging low-carbon alternatives is one of four switches in the Singapore Energy Story to build a more sustainable energy future. The Government has also conducted two feasibility studies on low-carbon hydrogen and CCUS technologies, from which key findings were used to evaluate proposals received under the LCER FI grant call. The Singapore Government welcomes more of such partnerships, and opportunities to pilot new technologies in sectors including maritime, aviation, mobility, industry and power sectors.

Annex A: Details of Awarded Projects

-- End –

About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector R&D agency. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit the economy and society. As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by improving societal outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability. A*STAR plays a key role in nurturing scientific talent and leaders for the wider research community and industry. A*STAR’s R&D activities span biomedical sciences to physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis. For ongoing news, visit www.a-star.edu.sg 

About the Singapore Economic Development Board

The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), a government agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is responsible for strategies that enhance Singapore’s position as a global centre for business, innovation, and talent. We undertake investment promotion and industry development, and work with international businesses, both foreign and local, by providing information, connection to partners and access to government incentives for their investments. Our mission is to create sustainable economic growth, with vibrant business and good job opportunities for Singapore. For more information on EDB, please visit www.edb.gov.sg

About the Energy Market Authority

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) is a statutory board under the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry. Through our work, we seek to forge a progressive energy landscape for sustained growth. We aim to ensure a reliable and secure energy supply, promote effective competition in the energy market and develop a dynamic energy sector in Singapore. Visit www.ema.gov.sg for more information.

About the National Climate Change Secretariat

The National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) is part of the Strategy Group under the Prime Minister’s Office, which develops and implements Singapore’s domestic and international policies and strategies to tackle climate change. NCCS achieves this by adopting a Whole-of-Government approach and working with the people and private sectors to mitigate carbon emissions in all sectors, helping Singapore adapt to the effects of climate change, harnessing economic and green growth opportunities arising from climate change, and encouraging public awareness and action on climate change. For more information, please visit www.nccs.gov.sg 

About the National Research Foundation Singapore

The National Research Foundation (NRF) is a department within the Prime Minister's Office. NRF sets the national direction for research and development (R&D) by developing policies, plans and strategies for research, innovation and enterprise. It also funds strategic initiatives and builds up R&D capabilities by nurturing research talent. The NRF aims to transform Singapore into a vibrant R&D hub that contributes towards a knowledge-intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economy; and make Singapore a magnet for excellence in science and innovation.

For media enquiries, please contact:

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Energy Market Authority Ms Cara Ng
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ANNEX A
DETAILS OF AWARDED PROJECTS

SN Research Theme Proposal Title Proposal Description Project Investigator (PI) Team
1. Hydrogen (H2) Ammonia Cracking: New Catalyst Development, Reaction Engineering and System Design

Project aim: To develop more efficient processes to release H2 from ammonia, by examining the development of robust and efficient ammonia cracking technologies suitable for use in Singapore.

Potential benefits: H2 is difficult to transport in its native state, which requires high pressures and extremely cold temperatures to compress. One way to make it easier to transport is to convert the H2 into a carrier such as ammonia. However, releasing H2 from ammonia is an energy intensive process. An improved and more efficient process will reduce the energy penalty of transporting H2 in the form of ammonia and reduce the cost of H2 adoption in Singapore.

PI Institute: National University of Singapore (NUS)
Lead Project Investigator: Assoc Prof Yan Ning, NUS
Project Team: Prof Chan Siew Hwa, NTU and Asst Prof He Qian, NUS;
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): Surbana Jurong Infrastructure Pte Ltd and NUS
2. H2 Miniature H2 leakage and purity sensors for downstream H2 use

Project aim: To develop two types of H2 sensors, a hydrogen purity sensor and a hydrogen leakage sensor, with small form factor, high selectivity minimal interferences and immunity to poisoning for downstream use. Standards will also be created for H2 sensors evaluation and quality.

Potential benefits: Improve the safety of H2 use, allow deployment of sensors economically to enable trading and safety and increase confidence towards adoption of H2 for downstream uses.

PI Institute: Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Lead Project Investigator: Dr. Doris Ng Keh Ting, A*STAR’s IME
Project Team: Dr Cai Hong, A*STAR’s IME; Dr Kai Fuu Ming, National Metrology Centre (NMC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR); Assoc Prof Zhao Dan,NUS; Dr Liu Jihang, A*STAR’s IME; and Dr Subhranu Samanta, A*STAR’s IME
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association of Singapore (TAC)
3. H2 Methane Pyrolysis for H2 and Carbon Nanotube Production via Novel Catalytic Membrane Project aim: To develop an improved process for methane pyrolysis, i.e. catalytic cracking and separating natural gas/methane into H2 gas and solid carbon. It examines development of a novel bi-functional catalytic membrane reactor (CMR) process, where ultra-pure H2 and highly-ordered carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are co-produced via methane (natural gas) PI Institute: NUS
Lead Project Investigator: Assoc Prof Sibudjing Kawi, NUS
Project Team: Prof Wang Chi-Hwa, NUS; Assoc Prof Yang Wenming, NUS; and Dr Chang Jie, Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences
4. H2 Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHCs) Technology for Singapore

Project aim: To develop new catalysts and systems to reduce the costs of extracting hydrogen from methylcyclohexane (MCH) as an LOHC technology and to design a minimum-cost hydrogen supply chain network for Singapore.

Project benefits: MCH can be transported in liquid state at ambient conditions using the existing petroleum infrastructures, but the process to extract hydrogen from the MCH molecule requires high-performance and cost-effective catalyst and is energy intensive. This proposal could improve the performance and reduce the cost of existing SPERA catalyst from Chiyoda and design new reactors of better heat transfer, therefore reducing the cost of importing hydrogen using this carrier. A comprehensive financial
Lead Project Investigator: Prof Xu Rong, NTU
Project Team: Asst Prof Tej Choksi, NTU; Assoc Prof Raymond Lau Wai Man, NTU; Asst Prof Paul Liu, NTU; Assoc Prof Alessandro Romagnoli, NTU; Prof Iftekhar A. Karimi, NUS; Prof Farooq Shamsuzzaman, NUS
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): Chiyoda Corporation; PSA Corporation Limited; Sembcorp Industries Ltd; City Gas Pte Ltd; Jurong Port Pte Ltd; Singapore LNG Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation;

5. Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) Alternative Sand from Carbon Dioxide and Waste Materials Project aim: To examine the processes for the capture and mineralisation of CO2 into alternative sand that can be used for building and construction purposes. Project benefits: Captured CO2 can be used to make useful products such as construction material in this case. PI Institute: A*STAR’s ICES
Lead Project Investigator: Dr. Bu Jie, A*STAR’s ICES
Project Team: Asst Prof Liu Wen, NTU; Assoc Prof Pang Sze Dai, NUS; and Mr Yeo Tze Yuen, A*STAR’s ICES
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): Samwoh Innovation Centre Pte Ltd and EnGro Corporation Ltd
6. CCUS Capturing waste with waste: Continuous carbon capture using highly efficient sorbents derived from incineration ashes Project Aim: To develop a carbon capture process (calcium looping) by using novel sorbents derived from calcium-rich incineration ashes, collected from Singapore’s waste-to-energy facilities. Potential benefit: This will enable the use of incineration ash, which is a waste material, for CO2 capture. Both waste streams: incineration ashes and CO2, can be subsequently turned to sustainable construction materials after carbon capture. PI Institute: Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Lead Project Investigator: Asst Prof Liu Wen Paul, NTU
Project Team: Prof Simon Redfern, NTU; Snr Scientist Dr Bu Jie, A*STAR’s ICES; Asst Prof Grzegorz Lisak, NTU; Prof Lim Teik Thye, NTU; Snr Research Fellow Dr Andrei Veksha, NTU and Snr Research Fellow Dr Chan Wei Ping, NTU
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): Surbana Jurong Infrastructure Pte Ltd; Mursun Pte Ltd; Tsinghua University; and Kunming University of Science and Technology
7. Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) Towards Energy Efficient Electrochemical CO2 Reduction to Synthetic Chemicals: A Paradigm Shift in Sustainable Chemical Production Project aim: To examine the development of a sustainable technology to produce important commodity chemicals for Singapore (e.g., ethylene and propanol), using only CO2 and water as feedstock. Thus, reduce the energy intensity of producing chemicals from CO2. Potential benefits: Converting CO2 to fuels/chemicals is a potential utilisation pathway for captured CO2. Reducing the energy requirement for such processes will improve the economic viability of such CO2 utilisation pathways. PI Institute: NUS
Lead Project Investigator: Prof Chen Wei, NUS
Project team: Prof Xu Zhichuan, NTU; Dr Zhang Jia, Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), A*STAR; Asst Prof Lum Yanwei, Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), A*STAR/NUS; Asst Prof Wang Lei, NUS; and Asst Prof Hou Yi, NUS
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): NUS; Stanford University; Tsinghua University and ExxonMobil.
8. CCUS Development and module scale validation of novel hollow fiber membranes for CO2 capture

Project Aim: To develop more efficient ways to capture CO2 from exhaust streams. It aims to develop and validate hollow fiber membranes for efficient carbon capture via novel chemistry and machine learning. The performance of the developed and scaled membranes will be validated through in-house pilot testing under simulated conditions as well as field-testing on larger pilot under real-world conditions.

Potential benefits: To improve the capture efficiency of CO2 from existing exhaust/flue gas which is the first step in CCUS.

PI Institute: NUS
Lead Project Investigator: Asst Prof Zhang Sui, NUS
Project Team: Provost Chair Prof Neal Chung Tai-Sheng, NUS and Dr Gudipathi Chakravarty, START, NTUitive
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): Chevron Singapore Pte Ltd; Surbana Jurong Infrastructure Pte Ltd and NUS
9. CCUS Stable and long term carbon dioxide hydrate based storage (CO2-HyStore) in deep ocean sediments Project aim: To demonstrate a proof-of-concept requiring design, build and validation of potential of CO2 storage in deep-ocean sediments as gas hydrates. It will help to validate the possibility of storing CO2 in deep ocean sediments (as opposed to conventional sites which require specific geological formations) Potential benefits: This may open possibilities for long term storage of captured CO2. PI Institute: NUS
Lead Project Investigator: Prof. Praveen Linga, NUS
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): ExxonMobil; NUS; Purdue University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
10. CCUS Process Systems Engineering for Guiding R&D on Low-Carbon Technologies

Project aim: This project proposes a new paradigm in which materials research is conducted under the continuous of Process Systems Engineering (PSE) in order to keep focus on the KPIs right from the start of research.

 

Potential benefits: It develops digital toolkits that predict the system-level performances of several CCUS and H2 projects, helping to guide them to faster and successful scale-up.

 

PI Institute: NUS
Lead Project Investigator: Prof Iftekhar A Karimi. NUS
Project Team: Prof Shamsuzzaman Farooq, NUS
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): ExxonMobil and NUS
11. CCUS Adsorptive Carbon Capture Using Framework Materials

Project Aim: To develop more efficient ways to capture CO2 from exhaust streams. This project enhances CO2 capture by using state-of-the-art framework sorbents engineered for high CO2 selectivity, high intrinsic stability, and facile regenerability from moisture.

Potential benefits: Improve the capture rate of CO2 from existing exhaust/flue gas which is the first step in CCUS.

PI Institute: NUS
Lead Project Investigator: Assoc Prof Zhao Dan, NUS
Project Team: Assoc Prof Jiang Jianwen, NUS; Prof Shamsuzzaman Farooq, NUS; Prof Jiang Donglin, NUS; and Asst Prof Grzegorz Lisak, NTU
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): ExxonMobil; NUS; and Northwestern University
12. CCUS Nanostructured Catalysts for Direct CO2 Hydrogenation to Higher Alcohols and Fuels

Project aim: To reduce the energy intensity of producing higher alcohols and fuels from CO2. It examines development of nanostructured catalysts and computational capability in catalyst design and reaction modelling, including process optimisation.

Potential benefits: CO2 to fuels/chemicals is a potential utilisation pathway for captured CO2. Reducing the energy requirement for such processes will improve the economic viability of such CO2 utilisation pathways.

PI Institute: NUS
Lead Project Investigator: Prof Zeng Hua Chun, NUS
Project Team: Asst Prof Paul Wen Liu, NTU; Scientist Dr Kelvin M.Y. Kwok, A*STAR’s ICES; Asst Prof He Qian, NUS; Assst Prof Sergey Kozlov, NUS; and Assoc Prof Jiang Jianwen, NUS
Academic/Industry Collaborator(s): NuStar Technologies and NUS
         

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