The city-state is well known as a clean and green city which strives for environmentally sustainable development, with a continuously growing economy (Tay, 2015). For the past few years, it has shown significant interest in renewable energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D), including in ocean renewable energy (ORE). Singapore has provided a conducive environment for ORE to be further developed, through support from the Government in establishing various marine renewable energy test beds, encouraging collaborative projects among academic research organisations, industries and Government agencies, and providing funding and resources for highly innovative ORE technologies.
The Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator-Singapore (REIDS) project aims to test and demonstrate, in a large scale microgrid setting on Pulau Semakau Island, the integration of a broad range of onshore and offshore renewable energy production, energy storage and energy management technologies. The REIDS project, led by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and National Environment Agency (NEA), was officially launched in October 2014 with ten industry partners and 2015 marked the start of key onshore and offshore projects. A test site for tropical tidal turbines will contribute to the offshore component of REIDS. In terms of regional collaboration, the Southeast Asian Collaboration for Ocean Renewable Energy (SEAcORE) is a platform initiated by the Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) with partners from Southeast Asia to promote ocean renewables and create new markets for partner industrial firms (ERI@N Report, 2012-2014). This year, SEAcORE has been officially recognised by the Asian Centre for Energy (ACE) as its technical working group for offshore renewables – spearheading technology assessment and resource mapping methodology guidelines in projects involving marine resource assessment and turbine systems identification suitable for tropical conditions.
In addition, there are efforts to drive the commercialisation of ORE. OceanPixel is a Singapore start-up company that spun off from NTU, through ERI@N’s Wind and Marine team. It has positioned itself as the pioneer company dedicated to ORE in the Southeast Asian region. Several resource assessment and techno-economic feasibility projects between Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia and the Philippines are currently on-going through OceanPixel. 2015 marked the successful completion of different marine-related projects and a stronger commitment towards more innovative and effective means of fully utilising ocean energy sources and technology in Singapore.
SUPPORTING POLICIES FOR OCEAN ENERGY
NATIONAL STRATEGY AND TARGETS
Singapore is determined to reach its national targets to become economically greener and provide environmental and sustainable development for the whole city-state. Singapore has recently announced that “it intends to reduce its emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise its emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030” (UNFCCC, 2015). The Government sees renewable energy as an emerging field which needs to be closely studied and developed in tune to regional needs (SMI, 2014).
More than S$800 million public funding have been set aside by the Singapore Government for research in energy, water, green buildings, and addressing land scarcity of which S$140 million are allocated for research into clean energy technologies under the banner of the Energy Innovation Programme Office (EIPO) (EDB, 2015). Ocean renewable energy has been identified by ERI@N as a strategic research area.
Singapore, being a small city-state, develops its own solutions to address constraints in land and water resources by building partnerships between public agencies and industries towards the country’s sustainability agenda. An example of this is Singapore positioning itself as a “Living Laboratory” – “making its national urban infrastructure available to local and international companies who find it useful to develop, test, prove and showcase their solutions in a real-life urban environment that is also representative of many Asian cities” (EDB, 2015). This enables Singapore to harness the best technologies and industrial solutions from its partners.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
ERI@N, supported mainly by the EDB, focuses on the areas of sustainable energy, energy efficiency infrastructure and socio-economic aspects of energy research. Its mission is to be a centre of excellence for conducting advanced research, development and demonstration of innovative solutions which have both regional and global impact.
The Institute and its research centres have considerable expertise and strength in areas of offshore energy which include wind, wave and tidal energy and complementary technologies such as energy storage, microgrids, and smart energy systems, and collectively provide an integrated set of expertise from materials design & synthesis, device fabrication and modelling, and systems integration and optimization.
ERI@N’s Wind and Marine (W&M) research programme is aimed at improving the performance, lowering costs and accelerating deployment of offshore renewable technologies specific to the tropics, where unique technology challenges exist. It advances the technology development and commercialisation through early collaboration with industry. It works closely with Government agencies to understand regional needs, and with local and global renewable energy firms to identify technology gaps.
GOVERNMENT FUNDED R&D
Flexible Distributed Generation using tidal in-stream energy system for remote island applications
Among the Government funded projects is the “DG-TISE: Flexible Distributed Generation using tidal in-stream energy system for remote island applications”. This research grant aims to develop energy generation and microgrid systems for research work in the country (EDB, 2014). DG-TISE aims to develop “a novel sensing and signal analysis system which will provide a tidal energy resource measurement method to account for the geographical seabed conditions and tidal current measurements”, and to evaluate and test bed commercially ready turbine in Singapore waters.
Sentosa-ERI@N Tidal Test Site
The Sentosa Tidal Test Site is a joint collaboration between Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and ERI@N, funded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Core Innovation Fund. This project aims to showcase tidal energy extraction as a feasible and sustainable energy generating technology in Singapore and to provide opportunities to develop local technologies to harness the energy available in the narrow channel between Singapore and Sentosa. In November 2013, ERI@N and SDC officially launched the Sentosa Tidal Test Site (NTU, 2013).
Recent developments on the project include the deployment of scaled tidal turbines supported from the floating barges. Also, novel concepts such as vortex induced vibrating devices are being evaluated for field performance along with anti-biofouling coatings. The power developed is used for electric lighting on the boardwalk.
Floating hinged turbine support frame to house tidal turbines and vortex induced vibration devices.
(Left) & Scaled (1:3) tidal turbine in tow tank (Right)
Marine Renewable Energy at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal
The “Tidal-In Stream and Wave Energy Resource Assessment” project has successfully been concluded this year. This project has been funded under the Maritime Clean Energy Research Programme (MCERP) driven by the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) and NTU. The project aimed to undertake a feasibility study, device development and prototype installation at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) in Singapore.
The marine renewable energy resources (tidal: range and currents - tidal in-stream, and wave energy) have been assessed, characterized, and analysed to determine the extraction potential at TMFT. Specifically, a wave energy conversion module making use of the floating pontoon, which has an area averaging feature for wave energy capture, has been developed, installed, and tested/characterized at one of the TMFT jetty berths.
Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator-Singapore (REIDS)
REIDS aims to power Pulau Semakau, an island south of mainland Singapore which serves as a landfill, purely through renewables, including ocean energy. First-of-its-kind in the region, the hybrid microgrid will facilitate the development and commercialisation of energy technologies suited for tropical conditions that will help address the growing demand for renewable energy technologies in Asia. REIDS will integrate multiple renewables and novel technologies such as power-to-gas technologies and smart hybrid grids, and enable the development of solutions suited for small islands, isolated villages, and emergency power supplies.
- REIDS Onshore: This project aims to solve engineering, economic, environmental and societal energy transition challenges for off-grid communities. It customizes grid science towards remote islandic needs and integrates various renewables. Technologies deployed at the test bed include solar photovoltaics, wind, tidal, energy storage, bioenergy, innovative water desalination, hydrogen production, etc.
- REIDS Offshore: Tropical Marine Energy Centre (TMEC): While several high energy potential locations, associated with strong tidal currents, in Europe, North America and North Asia have long been identified and harnessed, the tropical markets for lower-tidal-velocity distributed generation, for instance in Southeast Asia, are yet to be explored. As there is no full scale or even scale test site yet in the region, it is challenging to test and develop tidal turbines, especially tidal turbines that can be used optimally in the tropical conditions. As a result, the TMEC project initiated by ERI@N and supported by ClassNK seeks to pave the way for establishing the world’s first scaled marine renewable energy testing facility for tropical needs. In March 2015, the feasibility study for the test sites was officially launched and is expected to be completed by mid-2016. This study involves an investment of more than S$2 million. Presently, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the test sites is being carried out.
STANDARDS FORMATION PARTICIPATION FOR OCEAN RENEWABLE ENERGY
ERI@N has initiated participation in the International Electrotechnical Commission’s “Marine energy – Wave, tidal and other water current converters” standards technical committee IEC-TC114 through SPRING Singapore, the official body responsible for standards within Singapore. SPRING, with ERI@N’s help, is currently in the process of forming the National Mirror Committee (NMC) for Singapore. The NMC seeks to review, adapt, and propose guidelines for Marine Energy in Singapore and serves as a stepping stone for possible adoption towards international standards specific for tropical regions such as Southeast Asia.
PARTICIPATION IN COLLABORATIVE INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS
ClassNK – Global Research and Innovation Centre in Singapore
ClassNK, a Japanese ship classification and certification society, and the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 13 February 2015 “to promote research and development and innovation in the maritime industry” (MPA, 2015). The signing also marked the opening of the Global Research and Innovation Centre (GRIC) in Singapore, which will focus on two main sectors – 1) Maritime technologies and 2) Marine renewable energy. For marine renewables, the GRIC aims to “establish a marine energy test site for the tropics to support R&D in energy storage systems, biofouling materials, energy converters, prototype design testing, and creating possibilities to provide energy for maritime industry usage in ports and harbours” (offshoreWind.biz, 2015).
Joint PhD - Industry Programme (JIP)
ERI@N has been actively engaging, partnering and collaborating with industry through its JIP projects. The JIP involves local and global academic partners, research agencies of Singapore and multi-national firms which are engaged in cutting-edge research into various aspects of offshore renewable energy, technology development and commercialisation.
The technology advancement is achieved through doctoral projects that are directly involving sponsoring firms’ participation to address real life technology challenges. Presently, more than 20 doctoral projects are in progress. As part of the technology advancement efforts, NTU is teaming up with Technical University of Munich (TUM) to setup an International Centre for Energy Research (ICER).
Southeast Asian Collaboration for Ocean Renewable Energy (SEAcORE)
This year, SEAcORE has been officially named as the technical working group for offshore renewables under the Renewable Energy Sub-sector Network (RE-SSN) of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Centre for Energy (ACE). As a technical working group, the SEAcORE network will work with ACE on providing quality research on offshore renewable energy and its technological solutions, techno-economic and policy aspects towards Southeast Asian regional energy security needs. In addition, there is a focus on human resources and capacity building activities on offshore renewables. SEAcORE involves collaboration between neighbouring countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. This provides a platform for the exchange of ideas, initiatives, and experiences from R&D, policy makers, and industry on the offshore/ocean-related field.
In line with Singapore’s interest to promote sustainable energy solutions for the tropical region, ERI@N is involved in developing and test bedding tidal in-stream energy systems for island microgrids. One current project is the deployment of a floating tidal turbine system on a remote industrial island in West Papua. The collaboration involves Green Forest Product and Technology Pte Ltd (a sustainable mangrove harvesting firm), Schottel Hydro GmbH (a tidal turbine technology provider), OceanPixel Pte Ltd, and ERI@N. The island microgrid is currently using diesel generators to power its operations. A hybrid renewable energy solution, including tidal energy, will improve the operations of the island in terms of having a cleaner and relatively cheaper energy source.
Also as part of the outreach, ERI@N participated in the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) marine energy workshop for SIDS (Small Island Developing States) towards promoting ocean renewables for islandic energy needs. ERI@N has also taken part in the Indian Ocean Regional Association (IORA) to discuss Blue Economy initiatives, which involve nations’ efforts towards exploiting ocean resources such as energy, minerals, food, medicine, etc.
Dr. Sanjayan Velautham, Executive Director of ACE and
Dr. Srikanth signing the MoU during the ACES.
Countries such as India, Russia, Indonesia, France and other IORA members have also participated. ERI@N has highlighted how marine renewables can enable energy security, generate job creation, and provide technology alternatives, economic growth and environmental protection.
Regional Network and International Conferences towards increasing ORE Uptake in SEA
Regional Technological Roadmap on Ocean Renewable Energy
ERI@N has partnered with University of Edinburgh (UK), Cardinal Engineering (US) and Power Projects
Ltd (Australasia) to come up with a global technology roadmap for ORE. The main objective of this technological roadmap is to understand barriers towards ocean energy technology adoption and explore pathways and strategies to overcome barriers and support cost reduction of ocean renewable energy technologies in order to achieve competitive levelised cost of energy in comparison with other sources of energy. The report is designed to influence OES members, mainly the public and private technology funders to give them advice regarding R&D prioritization.
Asia Clean Energy Summit (ACES) 2015
The annual Asia Clean Energy Summit (ACES), an event during the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) organised by the Energy Market Authority of Singapore (EMA), was held in October 2015. The ERI@N Wind and Marine team was involved as the technical team for the offshore renewable energy (RE) track.
Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC) 2016
Singapore has been chosen to host the next Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC) in 2016 (AWTEC, 2014). AWTEC is to be held on 24 -28 October 2016 in conjunction with the popular SIEW 2016 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. ERI@N heads the Local Organising Committee and along with experts from Japan, Korea, UK and Australia, the team will run the conference, providing opportunity to showcase ocean technology development efforts and innovative solutions with greater regional impact and broader reach.
For more information please visit: www.awtec.asia/conferences/awtec-2016
ERI@N has designed, prototyped, and installed a Wave Energy Converter (WEC) for harnessing the jetty berth’s pontoon movement due to waves and converting the mechanical power into electrical power. The WEC is presently coupled with its own roller as a system which is separated from existing pontoon rollers to ensure the safety of pontoon operations. Eventually the whole system will substitute the existing support rollers to function as both pontoon movement guides and energy extraction devices.
The technology developed in this project can be further matured from the initial proof-of-concept to the proof-ofvalue stage through collaboration with an industry partner, which can commercialise the product. A funding support scheme could then help to take this forward. The application of such technology is not limited to shore based installations - it can be further extended to use in ships and other marine vessels and installations (e.g. offshore rigs, aquaculture platforms, etc.).
Existing roller, pontoon, and jetty berth at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal