NTU launches R&D lab to develop clean energy solutions for maritime industry

A new research laboratory was launched last week to help develop clean energy solutions for Singapore’s maritime industry.

The facility, which was launched on December 7, is located at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), with offshore engineering firm Sembcorp Marine investing SGD10 million (USD6.9 million) in the laboratory. It aims to develop novel solutions in fuel emission management, energy efficiency and green shipping.

“The International Maritime Organisation has set stringent guidelines that will come into effect in 2020. They regulate the amount of pollution ships emit, and especially the type of fuel they use,โ€ said NTU Professor Freddy Boey. “But at current fuel prices, eco-friendly fuel alternatives cost about 40% more than regular fuels.”

The cost of meeting the regulations is expected to be high for companies as they need to overhaul existing engine systems of ships to satisfy these upcoming emission rules.

Among the tasks ahead for NTU researchers are looking at ways to retrofit ships to operate on two fuel types simultaneously, so as to reduce harmful emissions while keeping costs low.

“As coal and other fossil fuels become depleted at an alarming rate, we see a rising interest in gas as a viable and also cleaner energy alternative. In the longer term, the focus will no doubt be on overcoming the cost and efficiency constraints of harnessing renewable energy,” said Wong Weng Sun, Sembcorp Marine’s chief executive.