Singapore innovating for Net Zero buildings

With the ever-increasing need to decarbonise buildings to reach Net Zero, Energy Systems Catapult launched the Innovating for Net Zero Buildings project, a collaboration between UK innovators and Singapore partners – funded by UK Government.

The project aims to accelerate the development and deployment of solutions and technologies that support and enable Net Zero buildings in Singapore, including:

  • Demonstrating combined solutions and relevant technologies between the UK and Singapore through pilot projects and test bed environments
  • Facilitating research and commercial partnerships between the UK and Singapore.

The Challenge

With limited natural resources and a commitment to high living standards, Singapore has been actively seeking energy-efficient solutions since 2005. Energy Launchpad has set out a range of challenges when Innovating for Net Zero Buildings:

  • Develop and showcase innovative solutions and transferable business models
  • Advance research on Net Zero buildings and build capacity in UK and Singapore
  • Promote innovation testing and evidence-based policy making
  • Support scale up through close interaction with the private sector
  • Facilitate partnerships and commercial relationships beyond the life of the project
  • Establish a forum for dialogue and knowledge exchange

The Solution

Energy Launchpad is taking a five step approach to project delivery:

  1. Research into the main Net Zero challenges in the built environment in Singapore, as well as the key actors/stakeholders
  2. Innovator Challenge call to identify UK SMEs with relevant solutions
  3. Identification of Singaporean partners who are interested in collaboration in this space, and supported introductions to UK SMEs
  4. The development and running of demonstration / pilot projects
  5. Reporting, knowledge sharing and dissemination.

The Outcomes

The Innovator Challenge Call identified four SME innovators developing solutions relevant to Innovating for Net Zero Buildings in Singapore. After virtual meetings set the groundwork for fruitful collaborations, in June 2023 three of the four innovators travelled to Singapore to engage Singapore partners and attend several combined events that showcased the collective efforts of UK and Singapore innovators, including:

  • British High Commission – innovators were welcomed at the alongside an Innovate UK group of 13 start-ups. This event provided a platform for networking and knowledge sharing, further strengthening the bonds between the two nations.
  • Separate events run by the British Chamber of Commerce, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the UK Singapore Business Partnership Forum Expo. These gatherings brought together industry leaders, policymakers, and innovative start-ups to discuss the future of sustainable buildings.

Indicative list of Singaporean partners:

  • Surbana Jurong Consultants
  • Ria Venture Capital
  • JTC
  • Building and Construction Authority
  • Taronga Ventures
  • Keppel
  • Enterprise Singapore
  • National University of Singapore.
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Meet the UK innovators collaborating with Singaporean partners to help decarbonise buildings

Four innovators selected for Singapore project

CrowdHouse Energy

Challenge Area: Innovative Solar Generation

CrowdHouse have developed Helios Volt, a solar PV car park canopy system that uses high efficiency panels in an easy to install modular design. The bi-facial solar panels generate around 1.7 times the energy of normal designs, whilst the free-standing canopy design enables quick and easy installation. The system is ideal when partnered with battery storage or hydrogen generation to use any excess power generated.

The CrowdHouse solution is fully developed and ready to be deployed. They are looking for a live site demonstration typically with buildings that have high energy usage such as hospitals, ports, airports etc. The CrowdHouse team would also use this opportunity to look for local partners to support manufacturing and delivery of their solution within Asia following successful trials.

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Challenge Area: Data Centres

Ecocentric’s Numen systems is an easy to install electricity data acquisition and analysis platform for energy management and asset condition monitoring. It enables a digital transformation of asset maintenance and energy management, helps reduce energy consumption, targets maintenance activities and focusses asset replacement investment strategies. The primary market is data centres where real time calculation of Power Usage Effectiveness can help to control this important aspect of day-to-day operations.

Ecocentric’s solution is fully development, and the team would be looking to work with data centre owners, ideally sites that are 10 to 15 years old and hence have limited monitoring and less efficient equipment. This would maximise the impact of their technology and enable them to fully demonstrate their capabilities.

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OakTree Power

Challenge Area: Smart Centres

OakTree Power’s energy management system audits, monitors, manages, and optimises electricity consumption with a cloud based artificial intelligence platform and real time reporting. They typically achieve a 30% reduction in commercial building energy use through understanding how the building behaves and where energy is being wasted. Beyond this they can integrate a building into flexibility markets to open additional revenue streams through intelligent control.

The solution targets larger commercial spaces to be able to fully realise the benefits. Therefore, larger commercial building owners with multiple buildings would be preferable. The solution is fully developed and ready to be deployed commercially.

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Thermoelectric Conversion Systems

Challenge Area: High Efficiency Cooling

 Thermoelectric Conversion Systems have developed a solid state, high efficiency cooling system which fits into existing air ducts and replaces external and roof mounted air conditioning systems. Suitable for both domestic and commercial buildings, the system can be implemented on a room-by-room basis providing individual room temperature control. It works at a coefficient of performance of around 400%, and since it doesn’t include a conventional compressor, can be modulated over a much wider range of power outputs than conventional solutions providing additional energy efficiency gains.

As the technology is developed to a stage ready for pilot trials the preference would be to start with more lab-based demonstration sites to allow the team to validate its operation before then moving to larger applications. Due to the flexibility of the system, it could be deployed in a range of building types, but residential or small office applications would be of particular interest.

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Exploring the Decarbonisation Opportunity in Singapore

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With contributions from ·Energy Research Institute at NTU, Energy Systems Catapult and a Singapore Collaborative R&D Call from UKRI.

Read the Report

Innovating for Net Zero Buildings: Singapore - Summary and Challenges Report

Read the Report

Innovating for Net Zero Buildings: Singapore - Briefing Paper on Challenges and Opportunity Areas

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