Addressing National Challenges with Multi-Disciplinary R&D Capabilities
A*STAR Sets Up New Research Institute To Support Singapore’s Sustainability Goals
08 Mar 2022
SINGAPORE – A*STAR has established a new research institute to support Singapore’s sustainability goals. Known as the Institute of Sustainability for Chemicals, Energy and Environment (ISCE2, pronounced “I-S-C-E-squared”), the institute will advance R&D in areas such as low-carbon technologies, carbon life cycle assessment, sustainable materials and green manufacturing processes using the latest digitalisation and automation tools. ISCE2 will be partnering academia, public agencies and industry to achieve Singapore’s climate change goals, including the Singapore Green Plan and Zero Waste Masterplan; as well as support the local energy, chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors in becoming more sustainable.
Prof Yeoh Lean Weng, Chief Sustainability Officer, A*STAR, will oversee the operations of the new research institute. A key focus of ISCE2 is to help industries transition to renewable carbon and green chemistry, and this will be accelerated by digitalisation and automation in three focus areas:
- Decarbonisation, which focuses on reducing carbon dioxide emissions through conversion to fuels, chemicals, construction materials, etc.
- Green materials, including the development of environmentally friendly products which are biodegradable and circular materials which can be recycled and upcycled;
- Green processes, that reduce carbon footprint and solvent waste, and improve energy efficiency, for example in sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing.
ISCE2 is a re-organisation of A*STAR’s former Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), which has key capabilities in organic and biomolecular chemistry, catalysis, formulation technologies and process R&D. These will be combined with core capabilities in sustainable polymer materials from A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), and climate change modelling and simulation capabilities from other A*STAR institutes.
An example of A*STAR’s innovations in the sustainability space is in sustainable polymers, with the use of a single material in the multi-layered packaging of food products. Today, the multi-layers of packaging are made of different types of material, which makes it difficult to separate, sort, clean and recycle such packaging. Besides being highly compatible with the plastic recycling process, this sustainable polymers innovation also has high barrier properties that increase the shelf life of food, resulting in less food waste. This technology has been successfully spun off into a local company known as Aegis Packaging.
A*STAR is poised to support Singapore’s move towards a low-carbon and energy-efficient future. Examples of key R&D workstreams include how A*STAR partners IHI Corporation to transform CO2 into carbon-neutral methane (natural gas) and olefins. Olefins are often used as raw materials for polymer production. Another example is how A*STAR, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and JTC are working with 13 ecosystem partners including Energy & Chemicals (E&C) companies, technology adopters, solution providers and institutes of higher learning to study and plan for the development of a Carbon Capture and Utilisation Translational Testbed (CCUTT). The CCUTT is to be housed on Jurong Island, and aims to accelerate industry adoption of emerging CCU technologies as part of Jurong Island’s transformation into a sustainable energy and chemicals park.
A*STAR, with the support of EDB, Energy Market Authority (EMA), National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) and National Research Foundation (NRF), conducted an ops-tech roadmap for Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) from 2019 to 2020, bringing together academia, industry and public agencies.
“A*STAR has built many deep capabilities in technologies that are important for a sustainable future, and we are now bringing these together purposefully to support Singapore’s sustainability goals,” said Prof Yeoh Lean Weng, Chief Sustainability Officer, A*STAR.
“A*STAR is working alongside the local R&D ecosystem and industry partners to contribute to meeting Singapore’s climate change goals. Leveraging science, technology and engineering will be key in Singapore’s drive towards net zero emissions,” said Mr Frederick Chew, Chief Executive Officer, A*STAR.
About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector R&D agency. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit the economy and society. As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by improving societal outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability. A*STAR plays a key role in nurturing scientific talent and leaders for the wider research community and industry. A*STAR’s R&D activities span biomedical sciences to physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis. For ongoing news, visit www.a-star.edu.sg.