(EnergyAsia, October 25 2013, Friday) — Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has announced that it is establishing an advanced maritime energy test facility, making it the first in Southeast Asia.

The facility will be open to scientists and engineers from industry and academia to research and develop alternative fuels, fuel additives, and engine emissions and control applicable in green ship and port technologies, said Teo Siong Seng, chairman of the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI).

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SMI will contribute a total of S$47 million while the NTU will provide S$34 million over 10 years when the facility starts up in 2015.

“The establishment of the Maritime Energy Test Bed will help in the translation of innovative technologies from lab-scale to large-scale application where new technologies will be tested prior to sea trials. The METB is a significant component in demonstrating and raising Singapore’s maritime R&D capabilities and expertise,” Mr Teo said.

Jointly proposed by the Energy Research Institute at NTU (ERI@N) and Maritime Institute at NTU (MI@NTU), the test bed will help keep Singapore at the forefront of maritime research and development. Among its key infrastructure is a 1.5 megawatt diesel engine that can be modified to operate on different fuels, and advanced equipment for research in energy storage, noise pollution and waste heat recovery.

Chan Siew Hwa, ERI@N’s co-director, said the new facility will be built to meet International Maritime Organisation (IMO) requirements to enable industry and academia to undertake “cutting-edge research and development.”

He said: “To develop new technologies for green ships and green ports, all aspects of energy usage have to be studied, from the type of fuel and its associated emissions issues, to the efficiency of engines and waste heat recovery systems.

“Energy studies and the development of future energy solutions are key pillars of sustainability research, which NTU has a strong expertise in. With this new facility, we can continue to keep Singapore at the forefront of maritime research and development, tackling future challenges at all levels.”

The NTU has made sustainability one of its key research strengths and targets as part of its five-year strategy to 2015.

As a vital component of Singapore’s economy, the maritime industry accounts about 7% of the GDP. About 90% of the world’s merchandise trade relies on shipping, making it imperative for governments and industry to develop greener fuels and reduce carbon emissions to protect the environment.

Lam Yen Chin, MI@NTU’s executive director, said the test bed will also support the training and development of human resources for the maritime sector.
“With the creation of new knowledge and green technologies, as well as skilled manpower, Singapore will be able to attract more business to the whole maritime value chain, ranging from local suppliers to shipyards and ports,” he said.

“In addition to Singapore getting a share of the multi-billion dollar green shipping industry through R&D, this initiative will also help to promote Singapore’s international standing when it comes to environmental sustainability in the maritime industry.”