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Research E-waste Recycling Center Launched Through Singapore-France Collaboration

April 2019

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) launched a joint research center in March 2019 to develop innovative, energy-efficient solutions for the recycling and recovery of resources from electrical and electronic waste (e-waste). The agreement to set up the research center was formalized last year to signify Singapore’s strong ties with France and the 2018 France-Singapore Year of Innovation. The National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore is supporting this initiative under the agency’s Closing the Waste Loop (CTWL) Research and Development (R&D) Initiative. Together the three organizations, NTU, CEA and NEA are contributing SGD 20 million (USD 15 million). 

The new center, named the NTU Singapore-CEA Alliance for Research in Circular Economy (NTU SCARCE), will focus on four research areas that will look into recycling and recovering materials from:

  • Lithium-ion batteries
  • Silicon-based solar panels
  • Printed circuit boards from discarded e-waste
  • Detoxifying plastic parts in e-waste

For example, the joint lab will look into developing eco-friendly methods to recycle lithium ion batteries, and extract up to 75% of metals such as cobalt, nickel, lithium and manganese, which can be re-used to produce new lithium ion batteries. One of the solutions involves using “green chemistry” – a method that focuses on using chemical processes and earth-friendly products that minimizes the use and generation of hazardous substances.

Researchers will also develop methods to separate and recover as much organics and ceramics as possible from Printed Circuit Boards for a variety of applications. Current industrial recycling processes emit harmful pollutants and/or liquid waste that require costly treatment processes so that they can be safely released into the environment.

With the same objective of recovering precious materials and reducing environmental harm, the lab will also find sustainable solutions to process solar panel e-waste and toxic plastic materials. Researchers will explore ways to extract silicon and metals from solar panels, which could help reduce the costs to produce new panels. They will also develop a systematic approach to safely sort, detoxify and recycle hazardous plastic materials from e-wastes.

(Sources: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Channel NewsAsia)

Singapore Government To Issue Zero Waste Masterplan

March 2019

The Singapore government plans to release its inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan later this year. The Masterplan will detail the government's upcoming policies and plans, including in infrastructure and R&D. The Masterplan will cover the management of three waste streams:

  1. Electrical and electronic waste: From 2021, producers that supply covered electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to the local market will be responsible for the end-of-life collection and treatment of their products. Suppliers of consumer EEE will be required to join a Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO), which will be appointed by NEA, to collect and send e-waste for recycling. A single PRO will benefit from economies of scale, and lower the overall cost of the system. Collection targets will be imposed on the PRO, but penalties for failure to meet collection targets will only be enforced from 2024 to allow transition time.
  2. Packaging waste: From 2020, producers of packaging and packaged products (i.e., brand owners, manufacturers, importers, and supermarkets) with an annual turnover of more than SGD 10 million (USD 7.4 million) will be required to report on the amounts and types of packaging they put on the market, and their plans to reduce, reuse and recycle them. This will lay the foundation for the introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility framework which will be implemented by 2025. 
  3. Food waste: From 2024, large commercial and industrial food waste generators will be required to segregate their food waste for treatment. Such premises include large hotels and malls, and large industrial developments housing food manufacturers, food caterers and food storage warehouses. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) will work with the public sector to take the lead in segregating food waste for treatment in large public sector buildings where a significant amount of food waste is generated, from 2021 onwards. From 2021, developers of new developments which are expected to be large food waste generators will be required to allocate and set aside space for on-site food waste treatment in their design plans. They will also be required to implement on-site food waste treatment from 2024.

The new regulations are intended to send an economic signal to producers to take into account environmental externalities and facilitate resource recovery. They are expected to incentivise them to design products to last longer, improve recyclability, and reduce packaging. 

(Sources: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore; Straits Times; Today)

Trial Project Takes Singapore Closer To Energy Self-Sufficiency In Used Water Treatment

February 2019

Singapore’s National Water Agency, PUB, and the country's National Environment Agency (NEA) completed a two-year trial started in December 2016 to co-digest food waste and used water sludge for higher energy generation. Water reclamation plants in Singapore currently use waste water sludge to generate biogas, which then provides part of the energy required to power the plant. 

The trial project found that the biogas yield from co-digestion of used water sludge and food waste is triple of the biogas generated from the digestion of used water sludge alone. When compared to the separate digestion of used water sludge and food waste, the biogas yield from co-digestion is 40% more.​​

As part of the trial, up to 40 tonnes of used water sludge and food waste from 23 premises were treated daily at the facility. The mixture of used water sludge and food waste then undergoes anaerobic digestion, a biological process that breaks down organic materials in the absence of oxygen, to produce biogas for energy generation. The results demonstrate the possibility of making the used water treatment process in water reclamation plants more energy self-sufficient and achieve greater synergy by co-locating the facilities of used water sludge and food waste treatment. This will be implemented at the new Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) and Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) - collectively known as the Tuas Nexus – which are scheduled to be completed in 2025. 

This will also help in dealing with Singapore's second largest waste stream of food waste, of which only 16% is currently recycled, well below Singapore’s overall recycling rate of about 60%. 

(Sources: PUB; Channel NewsAsia)

KKR Invests USD 33 Million In Singapore Energy Savings Company

January 2019

Global private equity firm, KKR & Co. is buying a stake valued at SGD 45 million (USD 33 million) in Barghest Building Performance, a Singapore provider of energy saving solutions. This is part of  a Series B fundraising for BBP, which helps companies throughout Asia reduce electricity consumption. The six-year-old company uses sensors, software algorithms, equipment controls and engineering design to try to cut electricity consumption in air-conditioning systems in commercial and industrial buildings, reducing electricity consumption by as much as 35%. 

BBP's existing markets include China, India and Taiwan and its client list includes U.S. computer maker HP Inc., hotelier Shangri-La Asia Ltd., retail company Dairy Farm and Changi Airport.  It plans to use the funds to grow its business in the region expanding to Philippines and possibly South Korea and Japan, invest in new technology and hire more staff. 

This investment  is KKR's first impact investment globally. Private equity firms such as KKR, TPG and Bain Capital LP have been pushing into impact investing, the idea of seeking both financial return and social benefit. KKR is currently raising funds for investments with this purpose as well as several other strategies. 

(Sources: Barghest Building Performance; Straits Times)


JTC and NParks Install Singapore's Largest Purpose-Built Reef Structures

November 2018

Singapore’s largest purpose-built reef structures were installed on 8 November in the waters off Small Sister’s Island, within the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park. The project was initially announced in May 2018 as a collaboration between JTC and the National Parks Board (NParks). NParks is responsible for providing and enhancing the greenery of Singapore, while JTC is the lead agency in Singapore to spearhead the planning, promotion and development of industrial estates and related facilities. 

Since the project was launched it has received support from 11 donor companies from JTC’s estates and developments with contributions ranging from SGD 5,000 to SGD 100,000 per company made towards the “Grow-a-Reef Garden” initiative under the Garden City Fund, NParks’ registered charity and an Institution of Public Character. The contributing companies include Chang Chun Dairen, Denka, ExxonMobil, GSK, Keppel Group, Mitsui, Oiltanking Asia, Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore, Siltronic, Sumimoto Chemicals and Vopak Terminals. 

The “Grow-a-Reef Garden” initiative is one of three identified by JTC, as part of its Industry for Sustainability program, the other two being “Plant-a-Tree” programme, and donations to the Seed Bank programme by the Singapore Botanic Gardens. A total of eight structures, including the one installed today, will be installed by the end of 2018 to form the JTC-NParks Reef Garden. The structures, pre-fabricated offsite, are designed to sit on the seabed without piling or major foundation works that would otherwise disturb the underwater environment. The structures replicate a reef slope by occupying the entire water column from sub-surface to the seafloor, and will provide numerous and diverse habitat niches for a wide variety of marine life. 

The reef structures will provide around 1,000 sq m of additional reef substrate to the Marine Park by 2030 for the attachment and growth of coral. In addition, the spaces created within the matrix of the reef structures will provide suitable areas for the recruitment of various fish species. The graded stone pitching on the structure surface, created using rocks recycled from JTC’s projects such as Jurong Rock Caverns, increases the surface texture complexity for corals or encrusting organisms. 

The project will complement NParks’ ongoing reef enhancement efforts. For example, to safeguard hard coral species found in Singapore waters, NParks’ in situ coral nursery will be established within the JTC-NParks Reef Garden. The nursery will play an important role in the conservation of coral species, so that locally rare corals that may be threatened by, for example, coral bleaching, can be moved to a controlled environment to ensure their survival. The reef structures will also provide opportunities for various research initiatives and serve as test beds for new technologies to study coral reef resilience. 

(Sources: National Parks Board, Singapore; Straits Times)

Singapore To Expand Adoption Of Pneumatic Waste Conveyance Systems

October 2018

On 2 October 2018, the Environmental Public Health (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Singapore parliament. The Environmental Public Health Act (EPHA) was enacted in 1987. One of the provisions in the amended Bill is to drive wider adoption of pneumatic waste conveyance systems (PWCS) to automate waste collection in Singapore. 

In 2015, the Housing & Development Board (HDB) retrofitted 38 blocks in Yuhua estate. Earlier in 2018, the government made it mandatory for new development applications for non-landed private residential developments with 500 Dwelling Units (DUs) or more to implement PWCS. This is in addition to the more than 140 private residential and commercial developments which have already implemented PWCS. The Bill will enable PWCS to be deployed at the district level, beyond individual developments. The first District Pneumatic Waste Conveyance System (DPCWS) willl be implemented at at Kampong Bugis. Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, explained that legislation is necessary as private developers are unlikely to, on their own, come together to embark on a district-level system. 

PWCS at the district level will provide economies of scale. Instead of having bin centres in each development, the district can share a central bin centre. Refuse truck traffic within the district will also be reduced, as refuse will only be collected from one bin centre, which can be located away from residents. Developments with PWCS will benefit from reduced pests and odour, and manpower savings from not needing to manually transport waste within the premises.

The Bill also makes it mandatory for every licensed cleaning business to provide for the payment of an annual bonus to its eligible resident cleaners, regardless of the worker’s performance. Cleaning businesses who do not comply will face financial penalties or risk losing their licence. Around 40,000 resident cleaners are expected to receive up to 4% more in wages each year through this bonus.

(Sources: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources; Channel NewsAsia)

SGD 30 Million Technology Grant Launched For Environmental Services Industry

September 2018

The Singapore Government has launched a SGD 30 million (USD 22 million) Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) for the Environmental Services industry to help drive adoption of technology across the environmental services industry, and encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), multinational corporations, as well as premises owners (i.e. building/facility owners) to adopt commercially available and proven environmental services technologies, including equipment and digital solutions, to increase operational efficiency and productivity. The PSG is in line with the strategies of the Environmental Services Industry Transformation Map launched by the NEA in December 2017 to achieve a Zero Waste vision. 

Cleaning and waste management companies, as well as premises owners will be able to utilize the PSG to adopt technologies and equipment, such as those that mechanise waste management and cleaning tasks, as well as more advanced robotics, automation and autonomous systems, which will potentially have a significant impact on the level of productivity in the environmental services industry. Companies can also tap on the PSG for digital solutions such as workforce monitoring and reporting management systems that are identified in the Environmental Services Industry Digital Plan, jointly developed by National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and pre-approved under the SMEs Go Digital programme. The full list of supportable equipment and digital solutions are available on Tech Depot for companies’ consideration.

Licensed waste management and cleaning companies with existing contracts in Singapore as well as building/facility owners that are eligible for the PSG can receive support for up to 50% of the qualifying cost for the list of pre-scoped equipment and digital solutions, or a total grant cap of SGD 250,000 (USD 182,000) per company over the grant application period from 17 September to 31 January 2020, whichever applies. All applications must be submitted through the Business Grants Portal (BGP) prior to purchase of the supportable solution. 

(Sources: National Environment Agency, Singapore; Straits Times)



NTU Singapore Announces Research Initiatives For E-Waste Recycling And Circular Economy

August 2018

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has entered into a partnership with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) to develop innovative and energy-efficient solutions in the recycling and recovery of resources from electrical and electronic waste (e-waste).

Under the agreement, a NTU-CEA Joint Lab will be set up on NTU Singapore’s campus. The lab has four research thrusts, including recycling and recovering materials from e-waste such as discarded lithium-ion batteries and printed circuit boards. It will also explore the development of advance separation and extraction processes of e-waste that are less energy-intensive and less toxic than current methods. 

Furthermore, NTU and CEA are collaborating with the National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore to set up the Singapore CEA Alliance for Research in Circular Economy (SCARCE). The three organisations are committing SGD 20 million (USD 14.5 million) to it. SCARCE will look into developing innovative recycling technologies for sorting, dismantling, and recovering materials that can be re-used in an energy-efficient and environmentally benign way. 

SCARCE is the first project to receive funding from NEA’s Closing The Waste Loop research funding initiative. The SGD 45 million (USD 33 million)  research funding initiative by NEA encourages collaborations among institutes of higher learning, research institutes and private sector partners, to develop technologies and solutions to tackle challenges posed by increasing waste generation, scarcity of resources and land constraints for waste management.

(Source: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Singapore's Water And Environment Agencies To Call For Over USD 3.7 Billion In Tenders For Tuas Nexus

July 2018

Singapore's National Water Agency, PUB and the National Environment Agency (NEA) will call tenders worth an estimated SGD 5 billion (USD 3.7 billion) over the next five years for civil, mechanical and electrical engineering works for the Tuas Nexus, which is described as the world’s first facility designed to integrate used water and solid waste treatment. It will integrate PUB's Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (Tuas WRP) with NEA's Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF). This integration is expected to result in national carbon savings of more than 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to taking 42,500 cars off the roads in Singapore.

Construction of the two facilities is expected to commence in 2019 and will be completed in phases from 2023 onwards. 

Tuas WRP

The Tuas WRP is a key component of Singapore's Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) Phase 2 and is expected to be ready by 2025. DTSS uses deep tunnel sewers to convey used water by gravity to centralised water reclamation plants (WRPs) located at the coastal areas.

The Tuas WRP, with an initial treatment capacity of 800,000 m3/day, will be the largest membrane bioreactor (MBR) facility in the world, with an 30% more compact footprint compared to conventional plants. It will receive both domestic and high-strength industrial used water flows from two separate deep tunnels. It will feature a combination of advanced physical, biological and chemical treatment processes. This includes space-efficient lamella primary sedimentation tanks, two energy-efficient MBR systems to treat the two used water streams separately to higher quality standards for NEWater and Industrial Water production, and a thermal hydrolysis process to increase biogas production and energy recovery, as well as reduce sludge for disposal. The plant will also be equipped with solar panels on its rooftop in the long term, which is expected to generate up to 8MWpeak of additional power.

In another first, high-strength industrial used water will be used to produce Industrial Water at the Tuas WRP, for reuse by industries mainly in Jurong Island and Tuas. Currently, Industrial Water is produced using treated domestic used water at Jurong and Ulu Pandan WRPs. 

A total of about 11 construction tender packages is expected to be called over the next five years for Tuas WRP, estimated to be valued at over SGD 2 billion (USD 1.47 billion). The first tender was called in May 2018 for development works at the Tuas WRP site such as support infrastructure, utilities and a near-shore outfall for discharge of excess treated used water into the sea. The second tender is scheduled to be called by Q4 2018 for the construction of the plant's Influent Pumping Stations. This pumping station will be PUB's deepest pumping station yet, consisting of five deep shafts up to 80 metres (or 30-storeys) underground, which receives used water from the deep tunnels and pumps it up to the treatment modules.

PUB plans to call the third tender by early next year for the construction of the Industrial Liquids Module for the treatment of industrial used water to produce Industrial Water. Tenders for eight more contract packages for the construction of other components of Tuas WRP will be called progressively from 2019 onwards.


The IWMF will be built with treatment processes for multiple waste streams namely incinerable waste, household recyclables, source-segregated food waste and dewatered sludge from PUB's Tuas WRP.  It will be built in two phases, with an initial incineration capacity of 2,900 tonnes per day for incinerable waste when the Waste-to-Energy incineration facility is completed in 2023. The remaining facilities in the first phase of the IWMF comprising the Materials Recovery Facility, Food Waste Treatment Facility and Sludge Incineration Facility, will be completed by 2024, marking the completion of Phase 1.

The incineration capacity is planned to incresed to 5,800 tonnes per day in 2027. The heat from the incineration process will be recovered to generate electricity. Part of the electricity generated will be used to operate the IWMF and Tuas WRP but most of it will be fed to the grid and it will be sufficient to power 300,000 four-room HDB (Singapore's public housing) apartments.  

Three Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) tender packages and one build tender, estimated to be valued at over SGD 3 billion (USD 2.2 billion) will be called over the next five years. The pre-qualification of EPC tenderers will be called in July 2018 to shortlist potential EPC tenderers for the development of key facilities within IWMF Phase 1. The second stage tender for EPC tenders will be called by January 2019. Separately, the build tender for the development of a 230kV Electrical Substation for the Tuas Nexus will be called by December 2018.

(Sources: PUB Singapore)


Four Major Electronics Retailers In Singapore Join E-Waste Recycling Programme

June 2018

On 5 June, Four major electronics retailers in Singapore, Best Denki, COURTS, Gain City and Harvey Norman joined the RENEW programme to encourage electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) recycling in Singapore. 

RENEW is a voluntary community initiative by DHL, StarHub and TES, under which more than 400 e-waste bins have been placed across Singapore. Non-bulky e-waste items such as mobile phones, cables, modems, laptops, remote controls, keyboards, mice, DVD players, MP3 players and lithium-ion batteries from individuals can be deposited into the RENEW bins. StarHub provides the bins, while DHL collects and delivers the e-waste to TES’ e-waste recycling facility.

Under the collaboration agreement, the four retailers will place the RENEW bins in 20 of their retail stores, including seven COURTS stores, five Best Denki and Gain City stores each and three Harvey Norman stores. This expands the network of RENEW bins to 468 across 422 locations including educational institutions, major malls, government offices, office buildings, community clubs and now in these major electronics retail stores. It aims to provide consumers with greater recycling convenience and encourage them to responsibly dispose of their unwanted electronic devices and information and communications technology (ICT) equipment. E-waste can contain potentially harmful substances and needs to be treated properly, as well as valuable materials that can be extracted and recycled.

The expansion of the RENEW programme to include the four retailers is supported by the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) National Voluntary Partnership for E-waste Recycling. 

A study by the NEA found that around 11 kg of electrical and electronic waste (e-waste), equal in weight to 73 mobile phones, is disposed of per person in Singapore, amounting to more than 60,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. Currently residents place only around 6% of their e-waste in e-recycling bins. The government has announced plans to implement a mandatory e-waste management system in Singapore by 2021, through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) approach. Under EPR regimes, producers are given significant responsibility for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products. This could provide incentives to the producers to prevent wastes at the source, promote product design for the environment and support the achievement of public recycling and materials management goals. NEA will set collection targets for manufacturers and importers to take back a proportion of the products they put on the market. They will be required to work with NEA-licensed Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs), which will organise the collection, transport and proper treatment of e-waste, and help the manufacturers and importers achieve their targets. Collection targets will be set in consultation with the industry and reviewed before eventual implementation of a penalty framework.

(Sources: Starhub, Straits Times)





Singapore Setting Up First Seed Bank

May 2018

Singapore is expected to set up its first seed bank in 2019, storing seeds of up to 25,000 plant species, in an effort to protect local and regional plant diversity. The Singapore Botanic Gardens Seed Bank will be set up by the National Parks Board (NParks) in House 4, the largest of the five colonial-style houses within the former Raffles College. The seed bank will act as a form of insurance for plant biodiversity in Singapore, ensuring that seeds will be available in future for research and restoration project.

The seed bank is expected to house seed biology lab, rooms for seed processing and storage freezers. It will also have galleries for visitors to learn about seed banking and conservation work.

Work is expected to start later this year and be completed by mid-2019. It will have the capacity to store seeds from up to 25,000 species, nearly triple the 9,000 living plant species in the Gardens. This is also half the total number of seed plant species in South East Asia. The seed bank hopes to obtain 100 seed collections every year. HSBC has donated USD 103,000 to kick-start the development of the facility.

(Sources: Straits Times)

SUEZ Awarded A 3-Year Contract By PUB

April 2018

In March 2018, SUEZ Group was awarded a three-year contract by Public Utility Board (PUB), Singapore’s national water agency, to clean its water supply pipelines. As the first operational project in Asia using the Ice Pigging patented technology, it is expected to strengthen the Group’s positioning in Singapore and throughout South East Asia.

With an optional one-year extension, the contract was inked following the success of the Ice Pigging pilot project in 2016 in the country. SUEZ’s Ice Pigging is water-efficient as it uses significantly less (by 50%) water than traditional cleaning techniques. The new contract marks a new step in the development of SUEZ in Singapore, where its Business Unit Water Technologies & Solutions has been supporting the PUB and industries in the Pharmaceutical, Oil and IT sectors in water resource management through the deployment of high-performance technologies.

The SUEZ Group also partners with the PUB on Smart Water projects, desalination and energy-efficient wastewater treatment technologies. Singapore has been chosen as the Group’s business hub in South East Asia, drawing on an Innovation Centre and a Water Technology Centre, composed of around 50 research scientists and engineers who support project development in the region. This contract and SUEZ’s strategic position in Singapore represent a springboard for new business opportunities throughout Asia, in both municipal and industrial sectors.

(Sources: SUEZ)

Filtration Solutions Group Mann Hummel Opens Asia-Pacific Headquarters In Singapore

March 2018

In February 2018, German MANN+HUMMEL Group, a leading global filtration specialist, opened its Asia Pacific Headquarters for Intelligent Air Solutions (IAS) in Singapore. Located at Fusionopolis, the headquarters will spearhead the growth of the company’s OurAir business segment, which offers indoor air quality solutions that combine MANN+HUMMEL deep expertise in air filtration with advanced digital technologies. In addition to regional market responsibilities, the IAS Asia Pacific HQ will be  also responsible for global research and development, product charters, brand management and strategic partnerships. 

MANN+HUMMEL has chosen Singapore for its Asia Pacific headquarters due to its strategic location in Asia Pacific and the government’s move towards a smart and sustainable nation. Together with its Global Internet of Things (IoT) Lab, also located in Singapore, MANN+HUMMEL is set to rapidly grow its market share for clean air solutions in Asia Pacific market, estimated at more than SGD 4 billion (USD 3.04 billion).

The company has also signed a global strategic partnership with the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC)  - the leading global non-profit organisation driving agenda for green buildings - to jointly promote its initiative Better Places for People. The signing markes the first time an industry player has formed a partnership with WorldGBC, specifically on indoor air quality for buildings and offices. The initiative aims to increase market awareness of better indoor environments to support the well-being and productivity of people.

(Sources: MANN+HUMMEL; Singapore Economic Development Board; Channel News Asia)

Mandatory E-Waste Management System To Be Implemented In Singapore By 2021

March 2018

The National Environmental Agency (NEA) announced in February 2018 the introduction of new regulatory measures to ensure that electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) is managed effectively and efficiently in Singapore. Building on existing voluntary e-waste recycling initiatives, the mandatory e-waste management system is expected to be implemented by 2021. The new system will entail the assignment of responsibilities to key stakeholders in the e-waste value chain through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The new system will cover end-of-life information and communications technology (ICT) equipment (printers, PCs/ laptops, mobile phones/ tablets, routers/ modems/ set-top boxes), solar photovoltaic panels, batteries and lamps, and certain household appliances (including refrigerators, air-conditioners, washing machines, dryers and television sets) – products, which constitute around 90% of e-waste in Singapore.

Under the EPR framework, producers of covered electrical and electronic equipment will be required to take on responsibility for the collection and proper treatment of e-waste. These producers are companies that manufacture or import covered equipment for supply to the local market. Producers will have to fulfil collection targets set by NEA and ensure that the end-of-life electronic equipment collected are channelled for proper recycling and disposal. NEA is expected to review the targets periodically before introducing a penalty framework.

Producers will be also required to engage Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs) to meet their obligations for the collection and proper treatment of e-waste. NEA will license these PROs, which will see to the collection, transportation, proper treatment and reporting of e-waste collected on behalf of producers. On the other hand, producers may also work together to form their own PRO.

With the rollout of new regulatory measures, consumers may expect greater convenience when recycling their e-waste. For example, in-store collection points will be available at all large retailers of covered electrical and electronic equipment, and retailers will be required to provide free one-for-one take-back service during delivery.

(Sources: National Environmental Agency; OpenGov Asia; Channel News Asia)

SGD 30 Million For Water Treatment R&D In Singapore

February 2018

Singapore’s water needs have spurred many innovative solutions, and R&D has been the key to achieving a robust and sustainable water supply. In continuing to cultivate R&D, Singapore’s national water agency, the Public Utilities Board (PUB), has launched three Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to invite industry technology providers and researchers to develop solutions that will improve the effectiveness of water treatment processes and operations, and ensure water sustainability. SGD 30 million (USD 22.7 million) has been allocated for the 3 RFPs, which are part of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan under the Competitive Research programme (Water).

  • The first RFP targets specific technologies in enhancing energy efficiency of the water and used water treatment. For water treatment, it aims to reduce the energy consumption of desalination and NEWater through biomimicry. This involves exploring water channels or transporters that use very low energy, such as aquaporins derived from specific species of microorganism, fish and mangrove plants, as well as synthetic channels, for incorporation into biomimetic membranes. For used water treatment, the RFP targets to achieve energy self-sufficient water reclamation plants through Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactors incorporating the Anammox process, and/or other innovative nutrients removal/ recovery process. This aims to minimise the energy needed to treat used water and recover more energy from the process, such that used water treatment uses only as much energy as it generates.
  • The second RFP aims to enhance water efficiency in industries through water recycling or reducing water consumption. Proposals are to be submitted by the industrial or commercial host, in collaboration with an identified technology provider.
  • The third RFP looks at enhancing operational efficiency by leveraging on smart technologies such as robotics, drones, automation, data analytics and informatics, and video analytics, to minimise manpower required in operations and maintenance.

Companies that can bring the proposed water technology to market can submit their proposals. Institutes of Higher Learning or Research Institutes can also collaborate with an industrial partner that could accelerate the commercialisation/translation of the project and submit a joint proposal.

(Sources: OpenGov Asia; PUB)

Singapore Steps Up Efforts To Woo Scientists On Climate Change

January 2018

Amid the controversies surrounding the U.S. President Donald Trump’s denouncement of the climate change as a hoax, Singapore’s Centre for Climate Research announced in December 2017 its intentions to grow research capabilities and willingness to collaborate with talented climate scientists on tropical weather and climate research.

While the science behind tropical climate systems is still fairly underdeveloped, the center seeks to become the leading research institution in this area and invites researchers to come and work on one of its five focus areas: climate projections, seasonal outlook, weather prediction, fundamental research on tropical weather and climate processes in the region, as well as climatology and climate studies.

Under Singapore’s Research Innovation and Enterprise 2020 Plan – a blueprint guiding Singapore’s research from 2016 to 2020 – USD 900 million in funding went to the Urban Solutions and Sustainability Program to support piloting, test-bedding, and accelerating adoptions of promising new technologies.

(Sources: Asian News Network; The Straits Times)

Singapore A Leading Cleantech Hub In Asia

December 2017

Singapore invests significantly in R&D, engineering and project development capabilities in the cleantech sector. In 2014, Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB) launched the SolarNova programme which aggregates the public sector demand for rooftop solar. Since then, the government has embarked on several new initiatives to drive the adoption of “urban solar”. The country is now conducting engineering and environmental studies into the deployment of floating solar systems at a few reservoirs. It is also actively studying the feasibility of building-integrated photovoltaics or BIPV. In addition, JTC Corporation, Singapore’s government agency for the development of industrial land and space, recently launched a pilot programme, known as SolarLand, which aims to use vacant land to install solar panels on an interim basis.

Singapore's Economic Development Board has recently secured six new investments in clean energy across the fields of solar, smart grids, microgrids, energy storage and digital technologies in Singapore. These six projects will collectively create about 400 professional jobs and SGD 500 million in cumulative business spending, over the next five years. Three of these new investments include:

  • Envision, a world leader in energy management solutions, will set up its Global Digital Research & Development Centre, and global headquarters for Internet of Things & Smart Cities in Singapore.
  • GCL has established its global headquarters in Singapore to serve as the manufacturing control tower 6 for the region, and drive the company’s expansion in solar system integration outside China.
  • Jiangsu Linyang, a smart meter and solar manufacturing company, has set up its regional headquarters in Singapore to undertake sales, R&D, and project development.

As a leading Cleantech Hub in Asia, Singapore remains a choice location for companies to innovate and commercialise technologies, and serves as a springboard for companies into the region.

(Source: Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore)

Singapore Declares 2018 The Year Of Climate Action

December 2017

As a small island city-state vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, Singapore is committed to the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. Under the Paris Agreement, Singapore has committed to reduce its emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around then. To instill more awareness of climate change in its citizens, the country has designated 2018 as the 'Year of Climate Action'. 

The rate of warming over Singapore from 1951 to 2012 was 0.26°C per decade, more than double the global average over the same period (0.12°C). Its daily mean temperature is projected to rise by up to 4.6°C towards the end of the century, and its mean sea level is estimated to rise by up to about 1 meter by 2100, making it imperative for Singapore to adapt to the impact of climate change. The country has developed a resilience framework to guide its adaptation efforts - protecting its buildings, coasts, infrastructure and public health, as well as diversifying its water supply and enhancing food security. It has also implemented various new measures in recent years, from mandating energy efficiency requirements and energy management practices from 2018, introducing a carbon tax from 2019, among others.

Singapore is keen to adopt emerging technologies that could enhance its ability to reduce emissions, and is looking to spur innovation in the urban solutions and sustainability sector, including supporting the piloting, test-bedding, and accelerating the adoption of new technologies. As a small city-state with significant expertise in sustainable urban solutions, Singapore is doing its utmost to raise energy efficiency levels, support companies and businesses to test new technologies, business models and solutions, so that climate-friendly goods and services can be developed, improved, and eventually exported.

(Sources: National Climate Change Secretariat; Ministry of Environment & Water Resources)

Improving Industrial Energy Efficiency In Singapore

November 2017

Singapore has announced new requirements under the Energy Conservation Act to improve the energy efficiency of electric motors supplied in the Singapore market, and to improve the energy efficiency of new industrial facilities and major expansions of industrial facilities. These requirements will be in force as of 1 October 2018. The industrial sector is the largest energy consumer and contributes more than half of the greenhouse gas emissions in Singapore.

The introduction of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for motors will lead to the phase out of inefficient motor models from the market and catalyse the transformation of the market towards more efficient models. Besides enjoying life-cycle cost savings from lower electricity consumption, companies will also reduce their carbon footprint. To align with international standards, MEPS for motors in Singapore will be set at IE3 level from 1 October 2018. To encourage companies to design facilities to be energy efficient, from 1 October 2018, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will require companies investing in new facilities or major expansions that are designed to consume 54 tera-joules (TJ) or more of energy annually to: a) review the facility design for energy efficiency; b) identify economically feasible energy efficiency opportunities for incorporation into the facility design; and c) report the findings to NEA.

These enhancements will help Singapore achieve its pledge under the Paris Agreement on climate change to reduce emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

(Source: National Environment Agency)

New Surveillance Camera System On Trial To Detect Smoky Vehicles

October 2017

Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) is trying a new camera system that can detect and identify vehicles that emit smoke. The system was tested out in Hougang (in the north-eastern region of Singapore) earlier in the year and is now being tested in Loyang, an industrial estate. The cameras are part of research and development efforts to incorporate sensor technology as an aid for monitoring emissions from vehicular sources. According to NEA, the surveillance system comprises "customised prototype cameras coupled with sensors, developed in collaboration with technology solution providers". Specifics about how the surveillance cameras work have not been disclosed

In Singapore, acting against smoky vehicle owners remains an uphill battle despite mandatory vehicle inspection and legislated fuel quality. Given its manpower constraints, Singapore is increasingly leveraging on the use of smart sensor technology in the water and environmental technology sector.

(Sources: The Straits Times; The New Paper)

Singapore’s Fifth Desalination Plant Awarded To TP-STM

October 2017

Tuas Power – Singapore Technologies Marine Consortium (TP-STM) has been chosen by the Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore’s National Water Agency, to build the country's fifth desalination plant on Jurong Island. The fifth desalination plant is expected to add 30 million gallons (137,000 cubic meters) of water daily to Singapore's water supply and will start its operation in 2020. Desalinated water is one of PUB’s Four National Taps, a long-term water strategy to meet the nation’s water demand. Desalination currently provides 25% of the nation's water demand.

Tuas Power and ST Marine will form a 60:40 concession company that will contract an Engineering, Procurement and Construction consortium and a jointly-held Operation & Maintenance company to undertake this desalination plant project.  These developments, subject to definitive agreements, are expected to take place by first half 2018.

There were three other applicants for the bid, however, TP-STM offered the most competitive tariff of first-year price at SGD 0.91 (USD 0.67) per cubic meter. 

(Sources: PUB; ST Engineering)

Ambitious Target For Singapore's Unaccounted Water Rate

September 2017

Singapore has installed more than 320 sensors in its potable water supply pipelines. It now plans to extend the use of sensors to include the country's NEWater pipeline network over the next three years to improve its surveillance. The wireless sensors, which are able to measure both flow rate and water pressure, sends data to PUB's command center, which monitors the water pipe network. Singapore aims to reduce its unaccounted water rate from its current 5% to match that of Japan's, which stands at 3.2%. 

PUB is also undertaking a pipeline renewal project. It has replaced 20 km of old pipelines with new iron and steel pipes since 2016, and plans to replace an additional 75 km of pipes over the next two years. By 2019, PUB aims to more than double the rate of renewal to 50 km of pipelines per year.

(Source: Channel News Asia)

Public Utilities Board Awards First Batch Of Contracts For The Deep Tunnel Sewerage System - Phase 2

September 2017

PUB, Singapore's national water agency, has appointed three contractors – Ed Zublin AG (Singapore Branch), Penta-Ocean Construction Co., Ltd. and Koh Brothers Building & Civil Engineering Contractor (Pte.) Ltd. Joint Venture, and Leighton Contractors (Asia) Limited (Singapore Branch) – to design and build the first batch of 30 km of deep tunnels and link sewers for the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) Phase 2.  These are part of a network of 40 km of deep tunnels and 60 km of link sewers for DTSS Phase 2 which will be built using the tunneling method. The subsequent contracts to build the rest of the deep tunnels and link sewers will be awarded from 2018.

The contractors were appointed following a pre-qualification and tender exercise in mid-2016, with the three contracts valued at a total of S$1.51 billion. Over the next seven years, they will develop the detailed design and construct some 30 km of deep tunnels and link sewers as well as the associated ancillary structures.

The deep tunnels are an integral part of the DTSS, conveying every drop of used water for treatment and channelling it for further reclamation into high-grade ultra-clean water, called NEWater. The DTSS ensures the sustainability and resilience of the used water network to facilitate large-scale water recycling in Singapore, and contributes to the goal of increasing the overall water recycling rate from 40% to up to 55% of total water demand in the long term. 

This network of 100 km of deep tunnels and link sewers will connect to the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant, which is expected to be completed in 2025. By then, the whole of Singapore will be served by the DTSS. Used water will be conveyed from the DTSS via gravity to three centralised water reclamation plants for treatment, before it undergoes further purification to produce NEWater, or discharged into the sea.

(Source: Public Utilities Board)

Singapore’s Solar Power Capacity On The Rise

August 2017

Singapore’s solar power capacity to generate electricity has quadrupled over the past three years as more and more solar panels have been set up. Just earlier this year, almost 600 solar panels were installed in private homes in the residential sector and the total installed capacity for the year's first quarter rose significantly to 129.8 megawatt peak (MWp) from 33.1 MWp in 2014, based on a report released by the Energy Market Authority (EMA). Solar panels are being installed on the rooftops of government buildings, rewarding the institutions with electricity rate discounts in exchange for providing the spaces. However, lack of spatial vacancy is still an issue in Singapore, thus continuous research and development are on track to explore areas that can be used to install solar panels.

(Source: Energy Market Authority, The Straits Times, Green Building Research Institute)

Singapore Strengthens Its Water Technology With International Partners

July 2017

Singapore has launched a new SGD 2.5 million (USD 1.8 million) water research facility in Jurong, which will open in January 2018. The facility will be run by Kurita Water Industries, and supported by PUB and Singapore’s Economic Development Board. This will be Kurita’s first research facility outside Japan and the facility will target on developing technologies for desalination and recycling of waste water.

This launch was announced during the Singapore International Water Week Spotlight event. During the event, PUB signed 2 agreements with Saudi Arabia and Australia water companies respectively. PUB will work with Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation in areas of desalination technology and energy reduction and will focus in urban water supply and wastewater management with Western Australia Water Cooperation.

(Source: The Straits Times, Channelnews Asia)

Singapore’s Fourth Desalination Plant

June 2017

Singapore began construction of its fourth desalination plant in Keppel Marina East and is expected to be completed by January 2020. It will cover an area of 20,000 square meter roof garden, with a view the Central Business District and can accommodate 700 people. This plant will be the first to feature green spaces for public recreation. The plants equipment will be underground.

The fourth desalination plant will be able to treat both freshwater and seawater; the first of dual-mode desalination plant in Singapore. Thus on rainy days, when water in the reservoir is high, excess rainwater discharged into the sea can be treated for use as well. During dry periods, of low waters in the reservoir, water from the sea will be directed to the plant to be desalinated. Presently freshwater from reservoir is being treated at eight water works in Singapore while seawater is treated at Sing Spring and Tuaspring desalination plants.

A fifth desalination plant in Jurong Island is in plan and expected to be completed in 2020. Desalination is targeted to provide 30% of Singapore’s water demand by 2060. Desalination which starts in 2005 is one of the country’s long-term strategies.

(Source: The Straits Times, Channel News Asia, Water and Wastewater International)

Singapore Water Innovation Is at the Front Line

May 2017

Singapore is at the front line of water innovation, becoming a hub for mutually beneficial technology collaborations and exchanges as it shores up its own water security. At present, there are 180 water companies in Singapore, and national water agency PUB has collaborated with more than 170 businesses, academic institutions or government agencies in just about every region of the world.

In terms of technology, Singapore is moving towards a "water, energy and waste nexus" to increase water production while reducing energy consumption and waste generation.

(Sources: The Business News, Channel NewsAsia)

CDL Issues Green Bond in Singapore

April 2017

City Developments Limited (CDL), through its wholly-owned subsidiary CDL Properties Ltd (CDLP), has successfully launched the first green bond by a Singapore company. The two-year senior secured green bond has raised SGD 100 million (USD 71.6 million) at 1.98% fixed rate due 2019. The investors comprised mainly financial institutions and fund managers. The green bond is issued under the CDLP SGD 700 million (USD 500.9 million) secured Medium Term Note (MTN) Programme first established in 2001. DBS Bank Ltd. (DBS) is the sole bookrunner on this transaction. Moody’s Investors Service expects global green bond issuance will reach another record in 2017, and could even rise to SGD 206 billion (USD 147.4 billion), following an increase of 120% to USD 93.4 billion in 2016.

The demand for green bonds is fuelled by the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which took effect on 4 November 2016. Singapore has since ratified the Paris Agreement, and pledged to reduce its carbon emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030 as well as stabilize its emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. More investors are seeking to fund low-carbon and climate-resilient projects that are aligned with the goal of limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius. Furthermore, the number of signatories to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment has increased about 16 times from 100 in April 2006 to more than 1,600.

(Sources: The Business Times, The Straits Times)

Noise Barriers and No-work Sundays in Singapore

April 2017

At MRT tracks, around 10km of noise barriers hold was add up at sixteen places which include Admiralty, Marsiling, Sembawang, Ang Mo Kio, Pioneer and Yew Tee among the first section of the SGD 300 million (USD 214.7 million) project. Similar noise barriers hold additionally been set up at two expressway viaducts - at Anak Bukit Flyover and exaggerate over the West Coast Highway as part about a trial to decide their effectiveness.

The LTA is also looking at ways to use a material on roads that can reduce the noise generated from the friction between surfaces and vehicle tyres. While these are still being tested, other measures to control transport noise have been implemented.Trains are fitted with noise-dampening wheels. The LTA also clamps down on vehicles with illegal modifications, which include modified exhausts.

(Sources: The Straits Times, The Business News)

Tough Regulations to Meet Environment Goals in Singapore

March 2017

Tougher vehicle pollution standards and mandatory air suction waste systems are two of the initiatives that the Singapore government will be implementing to curb emissions and revive the nation's stagnant domestic recycling rates. Future residents of private apartments will hold get admission to according to pair chutes among their homes: one for recyclable waste, the other because of non-recyclable refuse such as meals waste. Already in usage among more recent blocks over masses housing residences between Singapore due to the fact that 2014, the chutes have helped recycling rates into these households to triple. Private residential builders have to set up twin chutes between trends taller than four storeys’ for modern development services submitted from April 1, 2018.

(Source: Eco- Business, The Business Times)