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Address by Prof Subra Suresh at the Low Carbon Energy Research Project, Research Collaboration Agreement Signing Ceremony

Address by






Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Distinguished guests,
Industry friends and partners,
NTU colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon.

A very warm welcome to all of you.

Today marks an important milestone for NTU, as we deepen our partnership with the Chiyoda Corporation, PSA Corporation, Sembcorp Industries, City Energy, Jurong Port, Singapore LNG Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation, along with the National University of Singapore, through a new Research Collaboration Agreement.  

Harnessing innovation for a cleaner energy future

This new partnership, which brings together a consortium of nine research and industry partners, aims to develop liquid organic hydrogen carrier technology for Singapore. The project is supported by the government’s Low-Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative and is part of Singapore’s efforts to accelerate the transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

NTU is proud to be the host institution of this research project. We have more than 200 industry partners on the NTU Smart Campus, and this partnership is the latest in NTU's long list of successful and strategic collaborative research efforts with industry.

NTU is currently working with leading multinational companies on a wide variety of cutting-edge projects, ranging from Artificial Intelligence and big data analytics, to autonomous vehicles, advanced manufacturing and robotics. These are areas that are poised to have a profound impact on society in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This new Research Collaboration Agreement is another example of NTU's strong focus in translating research excellence and discoveries into practical innovations that are industry-relevant, and beneficial to Singapore and beyond.

This latest collaboration marks an important step in advancing innovation, specifically in low-carbon hydrogen solutions. It is in line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and NTU’s ambition to achieve carbon neutrality on campus by 2035. As you may know, NTU released a Sustainability Manifesto last October, along with ambitious goals to reduce our carbon footprint and to reinforce our commitment to sustainability.

Improving hydrogen storage and transportation technology

Low-carbon hydrogen is one of the three key technological approaches that Singapore is adopting to achieve decarbonisation, in addition to improving energy efficiency, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage.

Low-carbon hydrogen, for example, green hydrogen, can be obtained from renewable sources, such as wind and solar energy. It can also serve as an environmentally benign energy vector and a means to transport renewable energy across long distances, from regions with surplus of renewables to renewable-disadvantaged regions.

However, the direct transportation of hydrogen requires cooling to -253°C, followed by the transportation of liquefied hydrogen by tankers. There is therefore an important need to develop cost-effective alternatives for long-distance transportation of hydrogen.

One promising option is to first convert hydrogen to liquid organic hydrogen carriers, or LOHCs, for storage and transportation at ambient temperature and pressure. LOHCs will then be converted back to hydrogen at the destination.

Under the Research Collaboration Agreement, Professor Xu Rong and her team of NTU researchers, are working with other university and industry partners to develop an LOHC technology using methyl-cyclo-hexane (MCH) as the hydrogen carrier.

The project aims to improve the hydrogen storage and transportation technology, known as SPERA Hydrogen, developed by Chiyoda. The team will utilise their expertise in computational chemistry, catalysis, reaction engineering and thermal engineering to develop higher performance catalysts and more efficient reactor designs, thereby reducing the costs of storing and transporting green hydrogen at scale. The ultimate goal is to reduce the global costs of hydrogen transportation, and make hydrogen a viable alternative to conventional fuels, based on state-of-the-art facilities.

Today's RCA is another example of how partnerships between universities, industry and government can deliver more impactful outcomes. The successful outcomes of this project can potentially lead to full-scale commercial applications of LOHC technology in Singapore, Japan, and elsewhere. It will also attract a wide range of business opportunities from ports and land transport sectors, supply-chain industries, and many other relevant areas, while allowing Singapore to contribute to efforts to minimize climate change and net-zero commitments worldwide.

I wish the entire team success in their work. I look forward to seeing the innovative solutions that you will deliver in the not-too-distant future. With my best wishes for NTU success. Thank you very much.

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