Urban and Green Technology

How will climate change affect our lives? What if we run out of natural resources? What is the effect of pollution on us and our families? Singapore is a small country with limited natural resources — what can we do to mitigate such challenges?

The Urban and Green Technology Centre at A*STAR was established to provide technology consultancy and smart, sustainable solutions to public sector agencies and local enterprises. We aim to help them build capabilities, uplift technological offerings and enhance product offerings as Singapore transitions to a low carbon economy. The centre has collaborated with the following agencies and organisations: BCA, EMA, HDB, JTC, LTA, NEA, and NUS. Successful collaborations and partnerships include food waste reduction and recycling services provider Westcom Solutions as well as home-grown urban and infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong.

The Urban and Green Technology Horizontal Technology Centre coordinates, guides, and directs development of urban and green technologies in A*STAR. The centre’s focus lies in four key areas: decarbonisation, energy efficiency/electrification, infrastructure, sustainability in manufacturing and waste management. It is supported by A*STAR capabilities in areas such as life cycle assessment, modelling and simulation, and digital technologies.

Our R&D and Technologies

Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Storage (CCUS) and hydrogen

  • CCUS - Collaborate with other research performers and industry players to develop technologies for conversion of carbon dioxide to useful materials such as methane, olefins, and sand.
  • Hydrogen - Building up capabilities across H2 supply chain in production, storage, fuel cells, infrastructure and manufacturing R&D. This includes modeling and simulation, catalyst development, surface modification and electrochemistry, nanomaterial synthesis and modification, micro-fluidic liquid cooling solution, and sensors and H2 standards development.

Energy Efficiency

  • Cooling technologies for large-scale deployment to significantly reduce urban ambient temperature in Singapore and achieve air-conditioner energy savings. Technologies include encapsulated core-shell Phase Change Materials (PCMs) that can be incorporated in structural walls, and technologies that are compatible with skim coat and building materials to improve thermal conductivity.
  • Integrated Electricity-Cooling Network (IE-CN) - A fully integrated IE-CN hardware/software architecture with a model-predictive optimisation and control platform has been implemented in developments at the Marina Bay New Business District.

Infrastructure

  • First-of-its kind Integrated Environmental Modeller (IEM) that accounts for solar heat gain, thermal loading, wind flow and noise coupling. See Tech Focus for more information.
  • Digital Twin software - Allows users to create a virtual replica of a physical system and gather insights from sensor data in real time, in order to improve operations, increase efficiency, or anticipate issues before they occur.
  • Urban Mobility and Transport Modelling - Modelling and simulation capabilities that can be used to understand the impact of planning decisions on different modes of transport island-wide.
  • Structural Health Monitoring System - Intended for residential building use and can automatically capture, wirelessly transmit, analyse and visualise the Building Structural Information (BSI) in real time.

Sustainability in Manufacturing

  • Circular economy – The transition of manufacturing sector towards circular economy will minimize waste and pollution, and keep key raw materials in circulation. UGTO’s role is as enabler of technology and developer of R&D to drive this transition.
  • Materials substitution – Supporting circular materials processes for FMCG companies, for instance, using polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), which are biodegradable, as a replacement for plastics in flexible packaging.
  • Materials / Product / System re-design – UGTO supports re-design to improve product quality, costs, and life-time via data analytics and AI.

Waste Management

  • Life-cycle assessment and waste management capabilities - Collaborate with industry e.g. Westcom Solutions and government agencies, such as NEA and MEWR.

Events

  • Norway-Singapore CCUS and H2 webinar series May 2020 - Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) and Low Carbon Energy Sources (e.g. hydrogen carriers) are essential parts of Singapore's ambitious decarbonization strategy, while Norway is one of the most advanced countries in CCUS and hydrogen technologies. UGTO, Innovation Norway, A*STAR, NUS, and NTU came together to co-organise a series of seven two-hour webinars with presentations by 40 speakers from Norway and Singapore covering governmental, industry, and R&D aspects of CCUS and Hydrogen. The webinar series aim to provide a continuous communication platform between both countries leading into the 1st Norway-Singapore Science Week planned for Oct 2020. Highlights include the Norwegian Northern Lights project, both countries’ decarbonisation strategies, and clean shipping for maritime industry decarbonisation. Over 1,200 audiences (aggregated over 7 sessions) from about 130 organisations participated in the webinar.

Tech Focus

Integrated Environmental Modeller

  • The IEM is an advanced modelling tool developed by a team from A*STAR and HDB. It was adopted in the planning of the new Tengah town to build a comfortable living environment. The IEM has also pushed technological boundaries in high performance supercomputing, creating the first-ever 3D wind-flow simulation at a 10-metre horizontal resolution that depicts all the buildings in Singapore.
  • The IEM has also garnered awards such as the Minister’s (National Development) R&D Merit Award 2019, Institute of Engineers Singapore Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award 2019, ASEAN Outstanding Engineering and Achievement Award 2019 and the PTA team 2019 citation_IEM.

President's Technology Award 2019 IEM
The team behind IEM (from left): Dr Tan Sze Tiong (HDB), Dr Koh Wee Shing (IHPC), Dr Poh Hee Joo (IHPC) and Mr Fachmin Folianto (I2R)

Watch: PTA’s video

Operation and Technology Roadmap (OTR)

Through roadmapping workshops and exercises, A*STAR works closely with agencies to help them make better informed decisions in firm-level innovation strategies, or develop deeper technology capabilities.

We have worked with the following agencies on roadmaps in these areas:

  • Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) – EDB, EMA, NCCS, NRF
  • Energy Storage Systems (ESS) for grid – EMA
  • Built Environment (BE) Robotics and Advanced BE Materials – BCA
  • Facilities Management Consortium OTR – BCA, IMDA