Environmental & Food Sustainability

Background / Motivation

IHPC aims to address national and industry needs in modelling and simulation to develop urban solutions and digital solutions for the benefit of the residents in Singapore and beyond. Working closely with both the A*STAR Urban and Green Technology, and Agritech and Aquaculture Horizontal Technology Programme Office, IHPC’s research contributes towards National agendas, such as climate adaption & resiliency for buildings, infrastructure and transportation, improvement in energy efficiency of buildings, Singapore Green Plan 2030 and production of 30% of Singapore nutritional needs locally by 2030


A snapshot below illustrates IHPC’s research and development efforts (non-exhaustive) and many in partnership with other A*STAR’s Research Institutes, Government Agencies, Local Enterprises and Start-ups, in these four research areas are:

Environmental & Food Sustainability Overview


Integrated Environmental Modeller (IEM)

The Integrated Environmental Modeller (IEM) is an award-winning 3D multi-physics environmental modelling platform that is able to quantify the combined coupled effects of various environmental factors (i.e., solar irradiance, shading, wind, air temperature and traffic noise) on the urban environment. This allows planners, architects and engineers to quantify and analyse the impact of their urban design based on both thermal and aural comfort on the living environment (Fig 1) in one integrated workflow. IEM is currently being used for the design of Tengah Forest town.

IEM Components

Fig 1. Integrated Environmental Modeller platform for urban planning

Credit: The Integrated Environmental Modeller (IEM) was developed by A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) and the Housing & Development Board (HDB). 

Energy Efficiency Improvement for Green Data Centre

In collaboration with ERS Industries Pte Ltd, a local SME specialising in server rack design and supply, IHPC has employed computational fluid dynamics simulations to aid in the server rack design, leading to an innovative rack design (E@Rack) with 30% better thermal performance, as shown in Fig 2. Dr. Kenny WU, the scientist in charge of this project, has received T-UP Excellence Award 2014, for the outstanding achievement in this project.  

Temperature contours
Temperature contours on rack surfaces

DC Performance improvementPerformance improvement for various operational scenarios

Fig 2: Development of innovative server racks for enhanced performance

Interactive Platform for High Precision and Sustainable Farms

To effectively buffer from supply disruptions in Singapore, IHPC helps local farmers transform and adopt technology to scale up food production capabilities by developing an interactive platform (Fig 3) that allows users to key in different parameters (i.e., light, temperature and air flow), and select different plants to simulate under varying environmental conditions. Through this platform, users get to determine the farm's performance with the realistic view of growing plants' life cycle and improve on (i) operation energy usage, (ii) output optimisation, and (iii) interact virtually with farms on site.

Interactive Sustainable Farm Platform
Fig 3:  Modelling of air flow, temperature, humidity and lighting

Applying IHPC's scientific knowledge on solar irradiance and fluid dynamics empowers us to predict, design, and optimise the farm and growing beds conditions (Fig 1). Using parametric and analogous estimation, we can provide more precise and realistic modelling of the plants in modern urban farms. The use of application knowledge-based platform and precision engineering to agriculture is known as Quantum Agritech.

This research is supported by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), under the program titled “Sustainable Hybrid Lighting System for Controlled Environment Agriculture”.

Collaboration Opportunities 

IHPC is pleased to leverage on our expertise in modelling and simulations to collaborate with the built environment, agritech and aquatech industry and universities to tackle the grand challenges in the respective industrial sectors and contribute towards Singapore Green Plan 2030 and “30 by 30” vision to produce 30% of Singapore’s nutritional needs by 2030.

For more info or collaboration opportunities, please write to enquiry@ihpc.a-star.edu.sg