New life for waste
Apr 23, 2016

Resource optimisation — whether of power, water or waste — links the cutting-edge technologies that will be developed at the $60million Sembcorp-NUS Corporate Laboratory launched on 20 April. Engineers from both Sembcorp and NUS will focus on three areas: power generation, industrial wastewater treatment and water reuse, and the upcycling of waste into useful and high-value products.

The launch event, attended by about 200 people, was graced by Guest-of-Honour Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the Coordinating Minister for National Security.

“Through such collaborations between universities and companies, we seek to align public sector research more closely to industry needs, to bring about greater positive impact to our society and economy,” said Mr Teo, who is also Chairman of Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF), which supports the laboratory’s creation under its Corporate Laboratory@University Scheme.

Based at NUS Engineering, the Corporate Laboratory will harness the expertise of 45 NUS researchers and 35 Sembcorp engineers in laboratory and pilot studies. Research will be conducted using full-scale facilities, with the final aim of full-scale implementation. The collaboration aims to generate new scientific and engineering knowledge, and develop competitive and sustainable solutions.

The Corporate Laboratory will focus on three core research areas — energy, water and waste-to-resource; and research activities will include:

  • Development of predictive maintenance systems that will optimise and enhance the efficiency of energy generation operations, while reducing emissions and waste residue
  • Development of cost-effective solutions to meet stringent chemical oxygen demand discharge standards, as well as comprehensive biological models to optimise plant performance and reduce liquid discharge
  • Conversion of solid residue from power plants and incineration facilities into useful and high-value products, and utilisation of combustion ash and solid residue to produce ultra-light composites for modular construction

    The University’s contribution to the partnership comes from the wealth of knowledge found within NUS Engineering disciplines; and its research centres. The Corporate Laboratory will work closely with NUS research centres such as the Centre for Water Research and Centre for Advanced Materials and Structures based at NUS Engineering. It also provides an important platform for NUS students and researchers to gain experience in industrial R&D, and promotes the interaction and exchange of ideas with Sembcorp engineers.

    “The close interaction between NUS faculty members and students, and Sembcorp Industry researchers and engineers will in turn promote a more vibrant R&D culture, and create a productive interchange of ideas between industry and academia,” said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan in his opening speech at the launch event.

    Sembcorp develops, owns and operates energy and water facilities in 15 countries worldwide, and has a long history of investing in and using technology and innovation. The tie-up with NUS will deepen industry-academia collaboration, with the aim of pioneering green technologies in the three specific areas, towards the promotion of sustainable development in Singapore.

    Mr Tang Kin Fei, Sembcorp Industries Group President & CEO, remarked, “If successful, these solutions will not only contribute to the growth of R&D in Singapore, but will also offer significant commercial and environmental benefits and enhanced productivity. These technologies also have good potential to be exported overseas, further strengthening the standing of Singapore as a global centre for excellence in sustainable, high-value technologies and solutions in the global marketplace.”

    Photo caption: Mr Teo (second from right) touring the exhibition highlighting the Lab’s projects with (from right): NUS Engineering Assoc Prof S K Panda, NUS Chairman Mr Wong Ngit Liong, Prof Tan, Sembcorp-NUS Corporate Lab Director NUS Engineering Prof Ng How Yong, and Engineering students

    SOURCE / National University of Singapore