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  1. May 15, 2007 The sun rises on S'pore's solar industry Landmark buildings may go solar; NUS in talks on research, teaching centre By Jessica Cheam THE solar industry is shaping up as a sunrise one. Landmark buildings - and there are so many on this sun-drenched island - may soon sport solar panels that do double duty as roofs. Solar-energy architects here are pushing for more than just solar panels slapped atop buildings to turn sunlight into electricity: They want to make what are called photovoltaic panels an intrinsic part of the structure and design of buildings like MRT stations. The architecture department of the National University of Singapore (NUS) is now in talks with the Economic Development Board (EDB) to set up a research and teaching centre to promote the concept. Details of the Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics (BIPV) Centre have not been finalised, but it is likely to be the first architecture-driven BIPV centre in Asia, said Assistant Professor Stephen Wittkopf of NUS. The Straits Times understands that the centre, likely to be run by NUS, will also offer specialised programmes for students and eventually, for professionals, to get a qualification in BIPV. BIPV could be the next big thing here, given that National Research Foundation chairman Tony Tan recently declared clean energy - and especially solar energy - as a likely major engine of Singapore's growth by 2015. Singapore's thrust into clean energy received an infusion of $170 million from the Government recently as part of a larger $350 million fund set aside for the Republic's green-energy drive. Prof Wittkopf said that, with Singapore buildings being chock-a-block and the island's location on the sun belt, it made sense to explore this technology. Research on 'solar architecture' is already under way. NUS' architecture department has been looking into how feasible it will be to apply this technology to selected buildings like Ang Mo Kio MRT station, the Environment Building in Scotts Road and the Poh Ern Shih Temple in Pasir Panjang. How efficient is BIPV? It is estimated that a system comprising 2,900 sq m of solar panels - the size of almost half a football field - can generate enough electricity to power about 100 three-room Housing Board flats. This is the reckoning of Ms Huang Yi Xiang, 25, who is working towards a master's degree in architecture at NUS. She designed a 280 kilowatt-peak system for the Ang Mo Kio MRT station. A kilowatt-peak is a measure of the amount of electricity produced under defined conditions. Developing manpower and expertise in the technology is crucial if it is to take off here, stressed Prof Wittkopf. He hopes the BIPV centre will do its bit to groom local talent for the solar industry. He said: 'Seeing is believing. If people see these panels around them, it creates public awareness and acceptance, which will help create a future demand, and bring prices down to a competitive level.' Price is a major dampener on the adoption of solar technology, and this is where the Government can step in, suggested Mr Christophe Inglin, who chairs the Renewable Energy Committee of the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore. He added that BIPV was especially appropriate in Singapore, which cannot spare land for solar plants. EDB said it was unable to comment further on the BIPV Centre but confirmed that it was 'in talks with NUS to raise the level of R&D in the area of clean energy'. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) also confirmed that it was in discussion with EDB and NUS and would release more details on the showcase project soon.
  2. Dec 15, 2006 New public buildings to go green from 2007 Private sector urged to follow suit; Government offers incentives IT IS goodbye to chilly offices with sweater-clad workers and hello to high-tech air-conditioning, waterless urinals and solar power - as Singapore's buildings gear up to 'go green'. From next year, all new public buildings and those undergoing major retrofitting have to earn the environment-friendly 'Green Mark' - proof that they are energy- and water-efficient, with good indoor environments. All new Housing Board flats will have the Green Mark. But not all upgrading HDB blocks have to earn the certification, as the buildings' physical constraints may prevent compliance. The public sector is taking the lead in embracing green building technology, Minister of State (National Development) Grace Fu said yesterday as she announced the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA) Green Building Masterplan. Ms Fu urged the private sector to follow suit. She backed the call by pledging $70 million in incentives to encourage developers to embrace sustainable development and the industry to step up research and development efforts. The BCA's Green Mark scheme, launched last January, rates buildings for their environmental impact and performance. It takes into account energy and water efficiency, indoor environment quality, building management and environmental innovation. Green buildings are also good for the bottom line. 'Studies in the US have shown that water savings of up to 30 per cent, and energy savings of 20 to 30 per cent are possible,' said Ms Fu. BCA chief executive John Keung said this initiative was a critical milestone for Singapore and hoped the incentives would encourage more green buildings, as increased demand will create more competition and prices for materials and services will fall. 'We want Singapore to know we are very serious about this,' he said. 'Our buildings are a major consumer of energy and the greatest generator of waste. As a small built-up country, sustainability is even more important.' Developers can draw cash incentives of up to $3 million per project from the $20 million Green Building Incentive Scheme. The amounts depend on the level of a building's Green Mark rating. A Gold rating is given to buildings that score between 70 and 79 points in the BCA assessment, Gold Plus for 80 to 84 and the highest Platinum for 85 to 100 points. In addition, Singapore-based companies and individuals can obtain grants from the $50 million MND fund for R&D of green technologies for the building industry. Currently, 34 buildings have Green Mark certification. Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) is one of four public buildings that obtained the Platinum rating. TTSH's green innovations - like sensors that turn down air-cons when it rains - have saved it $3 million a year in power bills. Private properties like City Developments' The [email protected] Bay and St Regis Hotel & Residences, which have features like solar heating for swimming pools, have obtained the Gold and Gold Plus awards respectively. CDL's general manager for projects, Mr Eddie Wong, felt the government offer to defray some of the additional costs 'will help tip over some developers sitting on the fence'. Smaller developers also welcomed the move. Hong How Corporation chief executive Daniel Teo said he had been looking into green buildings but had been deterred by the initial development costs, which are usually 3-6 per cent more than regular buildings. Singapore Environment Council executive director Howard Shaw said it was commendable that the public sector had committed itself to a deadline. But he said Singaporeans also needed to be informed about the benefits of going green. 'The more educated Singaporeans are, the more they will respect the environment,' he said. Dr Keung agreed that public education was crucial: 'Only when there's a consumer-driven demand will the industry respond.' BCA will also embark on campaigns and public education early next year to drive home the message. It hopes Singapore has 200 more green buildings in the next three years.
  3. MonsoonMaiden

    ST Article : Hybrid Cars

    Meant to post this earlier, but all the bluster about the haze overtook me. I've always wanted to own an environmentally-friendly car; looks like that wish may be realised in the near future. However, at present the cost of hybrid cars is still beyond my pocket.
  4. Well, we still have some way to go before biofuels are used in Singapore. But at least this is a beginning. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Straits Times Oct 9, 2006 From DIY biodiesel to slick new venture By Leong Chan Teik IF ALL cars in Singapore ran on diesel, some motorists here might discover a new hobby: making their own fuel. Mr Kom Mam Sun, 32, hit on the idea two years ago and it turned his life around. A former insolvency practitioner who used to deal with bankrupt companies, he started out making enough biodiesel to keep his Nissan truck running. That led him to start a small production outfit and sell to contractors. He is now working on plans for a plant elsewhere in the region. Singapore's first biodiesel plant is being built on petrochemicals hub Jurong Island at a cost of around US$20 million (S$31 million), and will start operating in six months or so. The Economic Development Board says there are other projects in the pipeline, but it is not able to say more just yet. Biodiesel has been gaining attention, not only because it is environmentally safe and low-polluting, but also because it can be made from such renewable raw materials as animal fats or vegetable oils, and even used cooking oil. It is usually mixed with petroleum-based diesel for use in vehicles. With many Internet websites showing how, do-it-yourself biodiesel has become a mini-craze with some motorists in the United States, among other countries. All it takes is a stock of used cooking oil, chemicals and equipment available from hardware stores. It's not rocket science. Large-scale commercial production looks likely to take off in and around Singapore, given the easy access to the region's abundant supply of palm oil. Some Singapore companies are planning biodiesel ventures in Malaysia and Indonesia, which together produce 80 per cent of the world's supply of palm oil. Biodiesel is largely unfamiliar to people here, but it is not a recent discovery. Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, for one, began experimenting with biodiesel more than 20 years ago and has a car that runs on it. More recently, it has gained attention and popularity as an alternative fuel source, not least because of the skyrocketing price of crude oil, from which diesel and petrol are derived. Prices soared from around US$20 a barrel in the late 1990s to as high as US$78 in July this year, but have settled at around US$60. For DIY biodiesel maker Mr Kom, high fossil oil prices provided a push to bigger things, and a career switch to being an entrepreneur. He raised $600,000 from investors, including government agency Spring Singapore, to build a plant in Tuas. Completed in June this year, it can produce up to 1,500 tonnes of biodiesel a month. Its raw material: used cooking oil collected from restaurants. Mr Kom sold his biodiesel to contractors in the construction industry, and began making a small profit. He has stopped production temporarily to focus on planning a plant for a potential client in a neighbouring country. A big step up from his modest operation is the multimillion-dollar plant coming up on Jurong Island. It is a joint venture between Peter Cremer of Germany, a global trader of commodities, and Malaysia's Kulim Berhad, which runs oil palm plantations. The plant will be able to deliver 200,000 tonnes of biodiesel a year and its palm oil feedstock will arrive either by truck or by ship, said Mr Luke Ng, a spokesman for the project. Its output will be exported mainly to the US and Europe. In Europe, one in two new cars runs on diesel. It is partly this demand that has encouraged investors to put their money into biodiesel. Investors are planning at least two more plants in Singapore. MAE Engineering, a Singapore company, says it is keen to build a plant on Jurong Island but does not yet have a start date for the construction. Australian company Natural Fuel has ambitions to build a biodiesel plant with a capacity of 400,000 tonnes a year. Its website says the proposed location of its plant is Jurong Island. Being close to a source of palm oil is something on which Singapore engineering company Advanced Holdings is banking. It recently secured a licence to start a 100,000 tonnes a year plant in Pahang - a project which joins more than 50 others that Malaysia has approved in the last 18 months. Singapore-listed company Wilmar picked Riau, in Indonesia, for a massive plant with an annual production capacity of 1.05 million tonnes. When it is completed next year, Wilmar will be the largest biodiesel producer in the region, if not the world, reckons research house Credit Suisse. These plants, along with those planned on Jurong Island, will export biodiesel to Europe and the US. So far, there is nothing planned for Singapore vehicles. Clearly, there is no incentive for vehicle owners to switch yet. ComfortDelGro, which operates a fleet of almost 16,000 diesel taxis, says biodiesel is not viable as it will cost more than petroleum-based diesel. Ms Elsie Sim, general manager of Shell's sales and operations, says the potential demand in Singapore is negligible. There are 128,000 diesel-run vehicles out of a vehicle population of 600,000. But biodiesel, if used, would make up only 10 per cent of a mixture of biodiesel and fossil diesel. The 10per cent limit is the norm around the world to meet current warranties for vehicles. Mr Eric Holthusen, Shell's fuels manager (Asia-Pacific), said biodiesel costs 40 to 60 per cent more to produce than fossil diesel. In Europe, tax incentives and legislation have helped drive up demand for biodiesel. Biofuels - a generic term for fuels made from biological sources - have to make up 5 per cent of European Union member countries' transport fuels by 2009, up from 2.75 per cent now. It is such European demand that is spurring the biodiesel industry in this region, said Mr Holthusen. Although Malaysia has approved dozens of new plants, he pointed out that there was no commercial use for biodiesel there either and that its planned output was headed for Europe too. For now, it looks like the cleaner, renewable diesel option may be made here, but will be used elsewhere.
  5. MonsoonMaiden

    Carbon Trading

    While reading about the Singapore government's Climate Change Strategy I wasn't too clear on how carbon trading works but this Shell advertisement actually does quite a good job of explaining it. Encouraging businesses to clean up Most people agree we need to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. It is a global problem which needs global solutions. One way is to use the power of the world’s markets to provide businesses with a strong incentive to clean up. Carbon Trading is a new market and owes its origins to the worldwide agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions signed in Kyoto in 1997. Under the Kyoto Protocol, European countries agreed to reduce the emission of six greenhouse gases by 8% below 1990 levels by 2012. It was left up to the individual signatory countries to find ways of achieving this. How can the UK, and the other 25 member states of the EU, reach their targets? A major part of the EU’s response has been to launch the EU Emissions Trading Scheme at the start of 2005. This trading system puts in place laws obliging thousands of EU companies to hold one allowance for every ton* of CO2 emissions they release each year. The total volume of CO2 that can be emitted to the atmosphere from the companies that are covered has been capped and reduced below “business-as-usual” levels. But this is a trading system that offers carrots to those companies that reduce emissions below as well as sticks to any company that might fail to do its bit. How Carbon Trading works At the start of each year companies receive an allocation of allowances to emit a certain quantity of CO2. For example a company might receive 1 million allowances for 2005. If that company expects to emit more than this allowance then it must choose whether it’s financially better to make the necessary emission reductions or whether it’s more cost effective to buy allowances in the market from other companies. Either way the company has to meet its legal obligation to hold a volume of allowances equal to its actual emissions at the end of the year. The carrot appears with the market price of these allowances. For example, if the allowances trade at €24 (the price in September 2005) then a company can look at its activities to see if it can take action to reduce emissions at a cost of less than €24 per ton* of CO2. Companies may find new technologies or better working practices that can all reduce emissions more cheaply than buying allowances. So let’s assume that the company makes the decision to invest in an emissions abatement project since it figures it can do so at a cost of only €15 per ton* of CO2. In this case the company can quickly see a pretty big carrot! If it reduces its emissions below its actual allocation level, it will have surplus allowances, which it can then sell in the market. And if the company is making these reductions for €15 and selling the surplus allowances for €24, that’s a €9 per ton* CO2 incentive for cleaning up. In this way the market establishes a cost on emissions and a very clear incentive for reducing them! * Based on UK(long) tons (one ton = 2240 pounds) Note: US(short) ton = 2000 pounds
  6. INDUSTRIES Our Strategy Our approach towards industries is a "win-win" one. We acknowledge that industries in Singapore produce largely for international markets. Therefore, regulations that are too tight may create compliance costs that force industries to relocate elsewhere, with an adverse impact on the Singaporean economy without a significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, we will focus on improving the energy efficiency of our industries, which not only lowers their carbon intensity but renders them more cost-competitive in the current high oil price environment. The global concern with climate change also brings with it new business opportunities, such as the export of carbon-efficient technologies to support the sustainable development aspirations of other developing countries and the provision of carbon services such as emissions trading. These opportunities match Singapore 's environmental, engineering, and financial expertise, and we will engage local industries to seek out such opportunities. This would contribute to global efforts in mitigating climate change. We also have an Accelerated Depreciation Allowance Scheme that allows companies to fully depreciate the capital expenditure energy efficient equipment over one year instead of the usual three. This scheme encourages companies to replace old, energy-consuming equipment with more energy efficient ones and to invest in energy-saving equipment. Proposed Measures a) Promote Cogeneration Cogeneration, or combined heat and power, is an efficient method of generating both heat and electricity in an integrated process, and is applicable in instances where both electricity and heat are required. By making use of the waste heat generated in the combustion process, cogeneration can increase the energy efficiency of power generation from about 40%-50% to more than 75%. While cogeneration is a technology more commonly used in industrial facilities, it can also be extended to buildings in general. Cogeneration or even trigeneration (combined heat, power and chilled water generation) is currently used and test-bedded in some facilities in Singapore Trigeneration at a factory belonging to Aalst Pte Ltd. Aalst, a manufacturer of industrial chocolates, has installed a micro-turbine and waste-heat recovery system to test the trigeneration of power, heat and chilled water. The system was installed in September 2004 and is producing electricity, hot water as well as chilled water for use in the manufacturing process and for air-conditioning needs. BUILDINGS Buildings can be designed to encourage greater use of natural light and ventilation. Proper insulation also ensures that less energy is used to cool down buildings. Studies have shown that energy-efficient buildings can reduce energy use by 35%. The Housing Development Board (HDB) being the largest developer in Singapore, has been actively studying, adapting and implementing measures that are environmentally friendly and energy-efficient throughout its entire building and development process, from planning, design, pre-construction to post-construction. In its planning process, HDB emphasises the orientation of its buildings to minimise solar radiation into the units. It also uses insulated concrete wall for the gable ends facing the sun, and sun shades for western-facing dwelling units. To prevent heat transfer to the roof top units, there is an air gap to act as insulation between the secondary roof and the main roof. In the design of precincts, greening is conserved, and vehicle-free access connectors are provided for a better living environment. In common area lighting, HDB has introduced the use of electronic ballasts to save energy. Energy Savings in Buildings - Companies' Experiences City Developments Ltd installed motion-detecting lights in stairwells of 13 commercial properties. This is expected to reduce electricity use in stairwells by 93%. Promote Solar Energy The use of zero-emissions solar technologies will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As PV cells become less expensive and oil prices continue to rise, the 'sunbelt' countries along the equator would likely be among the first for which PV electricity is competitive on a commercial basis. In line with our national push towards developing our alternative-energy industry, we will explore the use of solar photovoltaic cells in demonstration projects in both the public and private sector. As noted, solar thermal water heaters are already an economically viable means of renewable energy. Currently, solar thermal water heaters cost more than conventional water heaters but have a payback period of 4 to 12 years. The government will further promote the usage of this clean form of energy, for example through awareness-raising. HOUSEHOLDS Green Corners The Green Corners programme was launched in March 2003. Retail stores participating in the programme commit to one of the following: (i) sell energy-labelled products exclusively (e.g. Hong Tar) (ii) allocate a section of their showroom to featuring energy-labelled products (e.g. Gain City), or (iii) ensure that at least 35% of their displayed appliance models are energy-labelled (e.g. Best Denki, Best Tech and All Best). This programme seeks to help consumers select energy-efficient appliances by increasing the visibility of energy-labelled products. COMPETENCY BUILDING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE Research and Development into Low-Carbon Technology Technology will play a crucial role in our ability to address climate change adequately in the long term. Research into renewable energy will decrease our reliance on carbon-intensive fossil fuels, while developing energy-efficient technology and carbon sequestration techniques will reduce the impact of our growing energy needs. Similarly, new adaptation technology will help us address our vulnerabilities to climate change. The objective of our research is not only to improve the current state of technology, but also to bring down production costs to a level that would make large-scale adoption commercially viable. In Singapore's context, our focus in the nearer term would be on energy efficiency technology as well as on solar photovoltaics and bio-fuels, both energy sources being abundant in the region. We will also continue to promote R&D in fuel-cells, both for micro-generation and transportation use. Growing our Environmental Industry The environment industry is estimated to be worth about US$600 billion globally and has been identified by EDB as a new strategic growth area for Singapore. A key contributor to this growth will be the alternative energy industry. Alternative energy technologies such as solar power and biofuels will be instrumental not just in our domestic efforts to address climate change, but also in global efforts as demand for renewable energy increases worldwide. Singapore's capabilities in engineering and environmental technology make it an attractive centre for the production of alternative energy products. Already we have attracted some investments in solar and biodiesel. These climate-friendly technological solutions if used in other countries can contribute to the global effort to address climate change.
  7. I've been reading through the Singapore government's Climate Change Strategy recently, & I'm actually quite impressed by it. The panel seems to have explored every possible area in which the climate change issue can be addressed, & the policies mentioned seem sound & pragmatic (of course, reports like these are often beautifully written but don't reveal the entire reality, however in this case I'm being positive & giving them the benefit of the doubt ). I found much of the report interesting, having never realised that some of these measures have been implemented or for that matter, really thought much about the climate change issue locally. The technology is also fascinating. Have jotted down those parts that I found interesting : - Singapore became a Party to the Kyoto Protocol in 2006. - Being an island in the tropics, Singapore 's key vulnerabilities to climate change are likely to be: *Land loss and flooding *Water resource impacts *Higher energy demand and heat stress *Public Health Impact from Resurgence of Diseases *Impacts on island and marine biodiversity Land Loss and Flooding A sea level rise of 88cm by 2100 could result in some coastal erosion & land loss in Singapore. A higher sea level would also make it more difficult for rainwater to drain into the sea and this could aggravate inland flooding during storm surges and thunderstorms. In order to minimise the impact of this sea level rise, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) has been requiring all coastal land to be built to a level 40cm higher than the new sea level after an 88cm sea level rise. PUB also has a storm water management system in place to minimise flooding, and has been reducing the amount of flood-prone area by raising platform levels in the country and implementing a pumped drainage system where it is not possible to raise the platform level. Water Resource Impacts An 88cm water level rise in 100 years could also result in seawater flowing into some coastal reservoirs. Additional steel plates on tidal gates will be installed in the future to address this issue. Higher Energy Demand and Heat Stress Warmer temperatures would result in greater use of air-conditioning and thus higher energy demand. A range of measures exist that can lower ambient temperature, such as increased amount of greenery (e.g. city parks, rooftop gardens, vertical greening in buildings) and modifications to building layouts and designs (e.g. using building materials with better thermal properties, lighter-coloured building surfaces, designing building interiors and exterior building layouts for better ventilation and to maximise the wind tunnel effect). The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the National Parks Board (NParks) have been promoting rooftop and vertical greenery in our buildings through the planning guidelines. URA also works closely with NParks to encourage greenery along our streetscape islandwide, such as providing parks and green space, as well as planting strips along the road reserve and developments. The Housing Development Board (HDB) is in the process of introducing rooftop greenery to multi-storey carparks and residential buildings where feasible. Greenhouse Gas Emissions The main contribution to Singapore's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is carbon dioxide (CO2) from the use of energy to meet development and human needs. Unlike other countries, Singapore's methane production is negligible, as Singapore has no agricultural base. We also incinerate all our waste and the little methane emitted from the existing landfill is flared off. POWER GENERATION SECTOR The power generation sector is the single largest primary source of CO2 emissions in Singapore, accounting for about 50% of our carbon emissions in 2004. The electricity generated is then consumed by secondary users such as industries, commercial buildings, and residential homes. Our Strategy The strategy for power generation is to improve the power generation efficiency as well as to encourage the move towards cleaner, less carbon-intensive fuels (e.g. natural gas, renewable energy) while keeping in mind the need to keep electricity costs affordable. Our Efforts and Achievements Use of Cleaner Fuels In meeting our energy demand, we have always made a conscious effort to safeguard environmental interests. This was one of the reasons why conventional coal, with its environmental impacts, was never encouraged for power generation. In recent years, we have made significant progress in the power generation sector to make it even cleaner. Our electricity market was liberalised in 2001, thus introducing competition among the gencos. This created incentives for gencos to use the most efficient technology for power generation and created a market in which environmental interests are aligned with economic interests. Investments were also made in natural gas (NG) pipeline infrastructure. These measures have facilitated a significant switch from burning fuel oil to natural gas for power. Within just 5 years, the proportion of electricity generated by gas in Singapore has grown from 19% in 2000 to 74% in 2005, one of the highest levels in the world. This has led to significantly lower CO2 emissions from the power sector, as natural gas emits 40% less CO 2 than fuel oil per unit of electricity generated. Use of Energy-Efficient Generation Technology At the same time, the adoption of more efficient technologies such as combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGT) in gas-fired power plants has improved our overall generation efficiency from 37% in 2000 to 44% in 2004, reducing our CO2 emissions even further. Waste-To-Energy Singapore is also one of the few countries that incinerates all of its incinerable waste and recovers energy through the process. Since 2000, our waste-to-energy plants have contributed up to 2% of our energy supply. Thus, unlike other countries, Singapore produces negligible amounts of methane from landfills. Renewable Energy In terms of renewable energy, solar energy offers the greatest potential in Singapore . However, the cost of generating solar energy through photovoltaic (PV) cells is still higher than conventional grid electricity, and Singapore has been involved in various research efforts on renewable energy technologies to increase the yield and lower the cost. The National Environment Agency (NEA) encourages private and public sector partners to explore and test-bed new technologies (e.g. solar energy, fuel cell) through schemes such as the Innovation for Environmental Sustainability (IES) fund, which co-funds innovative environmental projects and the Environmental Test-bedding Initiative, which allows access to public infrastructure for test-bedding purposes. For instance, NEA, together with the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Energy Market Authority (EMA), facilitated the installation of a 14.5 kW p grid-connected PV system at the German European School in Singapore.