Keppel Infrastructure, through its applied technology innovation arm, KepInfra Energy Transition Centre (KETC), National University of Singapore, through its Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), through its Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a joint study on the technological and economic feasibility of developing a first-of-its-kind floating hybrid renewable energy system (RES) for operations in Singapore.
The floating hybrid RES concept comprises modular offshore floating solar platforms with the flexibility to integrate other renewable energy technologies, such as ocean wave energy conversion systems, tidal energy turbines, and paddles, as well as wind turbines. The study entails exploring the deployment of the system at a particular offshore test site in Singapore waters, subject to the relevant regulatory approvals.
If successful, the parties plan to design and deploy a pilot system with at least 100 MW of renewable power generation capacity which can be scaled up over time. After implementing the novel system in Singapore, the aim is to roll out the floating hybrid RES innovation to other regions in Asia and beyond.
An offshore floating hybrid RES harnessing complementary energy sources such as solar, wind, and waves can provide continuous 24/7 power output, a higher capacity factor and a lower levelised cost of energy compared to single-source energy platforms. It also reduces the amount of marine space required and increases efficiency through the concurrent use of critical electrical infrastructures and combined operation and maintenance methodologies.
Ms. Cindy Lim, CEO of Keppel Infrastructure, said, “Keppel Infrastructure is constantly pushing the envelope to accelerate energy innovations by engaging with stakeholders and partnering with leading research institutes. We are pleased to embark on this joint study and co-creation of an innovative floating hybrid renewable energy system, to be deployed in suitable offshore locations around Singapore, with the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. With limited land space in Singapore, moving into waters offshore presents opportunities to unlock the potential for more diversified renewable energy sources, thereby enhancing energy security and supporting Singapore’s transition to a greener energy mix. This is in line with Keppel’s Vision 2030 which puts sustainability at the core of the Group’s strategy.”
Signed at the Asia Clean Energy Summit (ACES) 2022, which is part of the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), the MOU brings together the complementary strengths and capabilities of the three parties.
Keppel Infrastructure will leverage its expertise in developing and operating efficient and reliable energy and environmental infrastructure, electricity retailing, as well as the development of end-to-end low-carbon solutions including renewable energy systems. Its initiatives this year include commencing the trial importation of 100 MW of hydroelectric power through the Laos PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project; piloting Singapore’s first membrane-based nearshore floating photovoltaic system to be deployed in Jurong Island; and it recently launched Keppel Infrastructure @ Changi, Singapore’s first Positive Energy Building under the new Green Mark scheme.
SERIS and ERI@N will provide their know-how on the pontoon-based floating solar structure and its integration with other ocean renewable energy systems, as well as how to overcome the challenges of high wind and wave forces on the mooring and anchoring system; salinity on corrosion; and biofouling issues. In addition, SERIS will provide expertise in the design, component selection, implementation, and operation of the solar assets, while ERI@N will address tidal modelling with tidal flow conditions in the tropical belt of Singapore waters to assess power density.
Dr. Thomas Reindl, Deputy CEO of the SERIS, said, “As one of the leading research institutes on Floating Solar worldwide, SERIS is very excited to provide its expertise to this novel approach of integrating Floating Solar with other renewable energy solutions. We have been moving our research focus from in-land reservoirs to offshore structures quite some time ago and, given the limited sea space in Singapore, we need to utilize the same space twofold or even multiple times. If successful, the proposed hybrid technology would also have great export potential.”
Professor Madhavi Srinivasan, Executive Director of ERI@N said, “Sustainability is one of the key pillars under the NTU 2025 strategic plan and ERI@N is at the forefront of green solutions for the whole energy value chain. The deployment of renewable energy systems in offshore conditions will face challenges such as environmental loads, biofouling, and corrosion. We have unique expertise and the necessary experience that will be critical in resolving such issues, gained from deploying tidal turbines in Singapore. Through this tripartite partnership, we hope to contribute our experience in hybrid renewable energy solutions and to advance this cutting-edge technology together with our partners.”