Singapore eyes green hydrogen as energy source with $25m institute


SINGAPORE – A new $25 million research institute aimed at making green hydrogen a commercially viable clean fuel to meet Singapore’s needs was launched last Friday (July 1) as the republic moves to decarbonize its energy sector.

The Center for Hydrogen Innovations at the National University of Singapore (NUS) will help create breakthrough technologies that will make hydrogen a viable green energy source.

Professor Ho Teck Hua, senior vice president and provost of NUS, said the new center as well as NUS’ green energy program – which focuses on carbon capture and utilization technologies – are part of the university’s strategy of coming up with innovative ways to reduce Singapore’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The center, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, has received a total investment of $25 million, of which $15 million is an endowment gift from government investment company Temasek.

Led by Professor Liu Bin, who also created the NUS Green Energy Programme, the center will “take a holistic approach” to addressing the technological and infrastructural challenges of creating a competitive hydrogen economy.

Imports of low-carbon hydrogen have also been identified as a viable path to bring the electricity sector – which now produces 40% of the country’s emissions – to net zero by 2050, according to the Committee’s report. Energy 2050, published in March.

In the first phase, the center will mainly focus on hydrogen carriers for storage and transport – a fairly nascent research area – as well as the global hydrogen supply chain.

“Although hydrogen can be imported by pipelines, this can only be done over short distances from countries like Malaysia. Liquefied hydrogen is very energy intensive and would require investment in new infrastructure,” said the professor. Liu at the Straits Times.

Another method would be to convert hydrogen into a liquid chemical carrier that can be transported at room temperature using existing infrastructure. But further research is needed to extract the hydrogen from its carrier.

In addition to studying hydrogen transport, the center is also preparing to produce hydrogen locally, to safeguard Singapore’s energy security in the event of a supply chain disruption.

Hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis of water, splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen, as well as by pyrolysis of methane – a process that splits natural gas into hydrogen and solid carbon.

But to be considered green fuel, both processes must be powered by renewable energy like solar.

To accelerate the use of green hydrogen as a fuel for sectors such as transport and electricity, the center will work in close collaboration with manufacturers in these fields.


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