NTU and Sembcorp Marine launch new lab for offshore and marine research [Press Release]

November 6, 2013 by  
Filed under News

A prototype electric power generator, fuelled by hydrogen, eliminates the need for large volumes of highly flammable hydrogen on board a ship.

A system that converts waste heat from exhaust gases of marine engines and uses it to produce chilled water to cool air-cons and turn sea water into drinkable water.

These are among the environmental friendly research projects undertaken by a new lab set up by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Sembcorp Marine Ltd (Sembcorp Marine) to develop innovative green solutions for the offshore and maritime industry.

The Sembcorp Marine Lab @NTU will focus its research on eco-friendly solutions for the sustainable growth of the industry, including the use of renewable and clean fuels for marine engines, emission control technologies for mitigating greenhouse gases, and innovative heat recovery techniques for marine engines.

Housed at and led by NTU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the lab is also a research and development platform which allows Sembcorp Marine and other industry players to utilise its resources for research collaborations with NTU.

This new research facility is supported by Sembcorp Marine’s gift of S$10 million which will go towards the setting up of the Semborp Marine Lab Fund managed by NTU. With matching funds from the Singapore government, the total endowment will amount to S$20 million.

The endowment will fund, in perpetuity, high-quality research projects undertaken by the Sembcorp Marine Lab @NTU to study and develop cutting edge discoveries that fulfil the needs, productivity enhancement and overall advancement of the offshore and maritime industry.

NTU Provost, Professor Freddy Boey, received a S$2 million cheque as part of the S$10 million gift from Mr Goh Geok Ling, Chairman, Sembcorp Marine, at Sembcorp Marine’s 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner today. Prof Boey said Sembcorp Marine’s gift will go a long way in not only supporting vital research activities, but also strengthening Singapore’s integrated hub status in the global offshore and maritime industry in the coming decades.

“NTU believes in doing applied research that can add value to various industries or sectors. Our partnership with Sembcorp Marine, a global leader in offshore and maritime engineering, is testament of our strong collaboration with industry and strength in interdisciplinary research,” said Prof Boey.

“The Sembcorp Marine Lab @NTU fits into two of NTU’s five peaks of excellence — Sustainable Earth and Innovation Asia. Indeed, expertise and resources from various schools across NTU can be tapped for this significant undertaking to create value-added, innovative and environmental friendly solutions towards new frontiers in the offshore and maritime industry.”

The Sembcorp Marine Lab @NTU is expected to further boost Singapore’s growing S$12.9 billion offshore and maritime industry. According to the Singapore Economic Development Board, Singapore is the largest manufacturer of jack-up rigs today, and commands 70 per cent of the world market. It also has 70 per cent of the global market for the conversion of Floating Production Storage Offloading units.

The synergistic partnership between NTU and Sembcorp Marine will also ensure that through various research and development projects, there is a regular pool of researchers and engineers with the best talents to propel Singapore’s offshore and maritime industry to greater heights.

Mr Goh Geok Ling, Chairman of Sembcorp Marine, said: “To further the cause of education and research, we have committed a total of S$10 million over a period of five years to an endowment fund for the establishment of Sembcorp Marine Lab @NTU, a new research facility in NTU. This research centre will be the nucleus for new discoveries and development of cutting-edge innovations – from productivity enhancement solutions to innovative green technologies – to further sharpen our competitive edge and contribute to the marine and offshore industry’s sustainable growth.”

Two initial projects launched

The Sembcorp Marine Lab @NTU is off to a promising start with two projects already awarded research grants.

The first project involves developing an electric power generator using integrated fuel cells which can decompose methane to yield hydrogen to produce electricity to power ships. This breakthrough method will eliminate the need to store large volumes of highly inflammable hydrogen on board ships to power fuel cells. Unlike the current method of using steam reforming of hydrocarbon gases which generates carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, this novel environmentally-friendly process will not produce greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

The second project focuses on developing a method to recover waste heat from the exhaust gases of marine engines which can drive a cooling device to produce chilled water for air-conditioning in the ship and drinkable water from seawater.

Source: NTU

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