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 The CCU Translational Testbed leverages the latest test bedding technologies, such as modularisation and digitalisation, to accelerate the development of CCU technologies from feasibility at lab-scale to technology translation in industrial settings. Such infrastructure will help to support research institutes and companies to develop and scale their CCU technologies in Singapore.
CCU - the process of capturing carbon dioxide to be recycled for further usage - is seen as key in Singapore’s effort in meeting its climate goals.
Research is also being stepped up into green hydrogen – the holy grail of decarbonisation. Green hydrogen can be produced through different pathways. The most established involved the use renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in an electrolyser. No carbon dioxide is created in the process and the only byproduct is water.
Low carbon hydrogen has been identified by the government as a viable way in bringing the
power sector - which now produces 40% of the country’s emissions - to net zero by 2050. But until now the high costs involved in producing, storing and transporting hydrogen have proved to be a deterrent in adopting hydrogen as a greenfuel.
On 1 July 2022, a new S$25 million research institute was set up at the National University of Singapore (NUS) to create breakthrough technologies that will make hydrogen a viable green energy source. Led by Professor Liu Bin, who also established the NUS Green Energy Programme, the Centre for Hydrogen Innovations (CHI) is tackling both the technological and infrastructural challenges of creating a competitive hydrogen economy.
For starters, the centre’s primary focus is on hydrogen carrier and supply chain studies. “While hydrogen can be imported through pipelines, this can only be done for short distances from countries like Malaysia. Liquefied hydrogen is very energy-intensive and would require investments in new infrastructure,” Prof Liu told The Straits Times.
One team will look at developing more energy-efficient and greener methods of extracting hydrogen from ammonia. “Ammonia is known to be an effective carrier of hydrogen and a potential carbon-free fuel, but current processes for extracting hydrogen from ammonia are technically complex,” said the NUS.
Another innovative project will consider how hydrogen can be converted directly from water into a high-energy density liquid hydrogen carrier. “Such a breakthrough would bypass the step of extracting hydrogen from water to form hydrogen gas, avoiding the safety hazards and costs involved in transporting, storing and utilising hydrogen,” NUS added.
To boost local on-demand production of hydrogen, another CHI project aims to use a novel battery system that can combine electricity storage and hydrogen production. Using specially formulated chemicals powered by renewable energy such as solar, the system allows for stable hydrogen production and electricity storage. The stored electricity could then be used to charge electric cars or supply Singapore’s power grid.

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