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Singapore’s NTU, Surbana Jurong and NRF launch S$61 million joint corporate laboratory

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
(NTU Singapore), Surbana Jurong and the National Research Foundation Singapore
(NRF) announced
that they will be setting up a joint corporate laboratory to develop
next-generation sustainable solutions to tackle industrial and complex urban
challenges.It will include research to explore
underground storage systems, sustainable indoor solutions for buildings, and
digital technologies to scale up productivity in the built environment.

The S$61 million joint corporate lab is underlined by a five-year partnership.Located at NTU, the SJ-NTU Corporate Lab
was officially launched by Mr Lawrence
Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance. The NRF facilitates the setting up of
corporate labs via public-private partnerships. The SJ-NTU Corporate Lab is the
12th supported by NRF and the sixth such corporate lab at NTU.

NTU President Professor Subra Suresh said
that the innovations developed at the SJ-NTU Corporate Lab will be tested on
NTU’s Smart Campus, which is already pioneering the use of green construction
technologies. The Smart Campus is also a testbed for
innovations from autonomous electric vehicles to smart buildings and various
applications of artificial intelligence.

The SJ-NTU Corporate Lab aims to develop
innovative and sustainable solutions that will alleviate near-term urban challenges and improve lives
for people around the world.This will be done by leveraging the
company’s global industry experience in the urban and infrastructure sectors
and NTU’s world-class research capabilities. The Lab will be working on projects which
will help to further establish Singapore as a global hub for sustainable urban
and infrastructure solutions.

NRF Chief Executive Officer Professor Low
Teck Seng said the partnership between SJ and NTU will strengthen its ability
to export next-generation smart and urban solutions to other cities facing
similar challenges arising out of urbanisation. The key objectives of the SJ-NTU Corporate
Lab will be to translate research outcomes into practical and viable solutions
that are focused around three core themes:

i.                    
digitalisation;

ii.                  
green and sustainable urban
solutions; and,

iii.                
the future of the industry and
productivity.

To begin, researchers will be working on 11
projects that are aimed at optimising
land usage, future-proofing buildings and infrastructure, and transforming the
way buildings are designed and constructed.

For example, researchers will develop a
thermal management system and an indoor air quality system that is not only
energy efficient but also uses a
botanical solution to purify the air. Integrating selected plants with
architectural and interior design, indoor air pollutants would be reduced while
creating a natural and lush indoor environment.

Another project involves a chilled ceiling
technology that uses special composite materials for ceiling panels which are
linked to a central monitoring system. The composite panels transfer heat more
effectively than conventional aluminium
panels.This reduces the need for air-conditioning
and improves energy efficiency.

On the digital front, researchers will look
into creating technologies to scan and map the external and internal parts of
building structures such as piping networks. These will be used to create Building
Information Models.The solution aims to improve the efficiency
of facility managers and change the way buildings are managed and
maintained.     

The multidisciplinary Lab will include NTU
scientists from various fields and SJ professionals.In its fully operational state, the lab
will have 70 researchers, including NTU undergraduates and PhD students.

For a start, researchers will explore
underground storage spaces for storing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in
industrial and urban areas so that space aboveground can be freed up for other
uses.The storage of LNG within these spaces will
be kept at below 162 degrees Celsius to ensure it remains in a liquefied state.

Asia’s first ‘Cold Lab’ will develop ‘Cold
Energy Capture’.‘Cold Energy Storage’ technologies will
also be set up.These technologies harness cold
temperatures produced during regasification, a process where LNG is converted
back to natural gas at atmospheric temperature.The harnessed cold energy could power
various industrial applications such as cooling systems in warehouses and data centres.

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