Singapore Maritime Institute sparks R&D stakeholders to accelerate maritime decarbonisation towards a net zero future

More than 200 participants from the maritime industry, academia, students and government agencies took part in the annual Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) Forum today to share and discuss the latest research and development (R&D) advancements in maritime decarbonisation technologies. Themed “Towards Maritime Net Zero: R&D Pathways to 2030 and Beyond”, the 13th edition of the flagship SMI Forum discussed challenges and opportunities in the net zero transition, and R&D’s contributions to accelerate Maritime Singapore and global maritime decarbonisation efforts.

In his welcome address, Professor Low Teck Seng, Chairman of SMI, highlighted the important role of R&D in providing new insights, knowledge and developing industry-ready, novel and practical solutions to address the industry challenges and accelerate the decarbonisation journey. Prof Low further shared that S$23 million worth of SMI funding has been awarded to more than 10 maritime R&D projects in 2023.

Deepening Research in Maritime Decarbonisation
To support the net zero goals for Maritime Singapore, SMI awarded funding to research projects which are aimed at decarbonising maritime operations.

Ammonia has been identified by the shipping community as a leading low carbon fuel option to meet the International Maritime Organization’s international shipping decarbonisation targets. SMI has awarded a research project to the Maritime Energy and Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence (MESD) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on “Mitigation technology and environmental impact from ammonia bunkering release”. This project, which is in collaboration with the Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) and A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), aims to deepen understanding of ammonia leakage modelling which affects bunkering safety, mitigation technology, environmental impact and emergency responses. Researchers from the three institutes will consider different potential ammonia leakage scenarios and develop technical solutions to address such ammonia leaks.

SMI also awarded funding to A*STAR’s IHPC for the project “Advanced Modelling and Simulation of Future Harbour Craft Electrification Standards for Singapore”. The project supports the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) policy and planning considerations for Singapore’s domestic harbour craft sector to achieve net zero emissions target by 2030. It seeks to examine various
planning scenarios of large-scale harbour craft electrification and aims to help policymakers understand the characteristics and power requirements of electric harbour craft fleet, as well as the charging infrastructure requirements based on the industry’s operational needs.

Phase Two funding for the Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety
Professor Low further announced that SMI will be awarding S$10 million to the Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety (CEMS) at Singapore Polytechnic (SP) for a second funding period of five years. CEMS was established by SMI and SP in 2018 to raise maritime safety and safety standards by developing new technological solutions and training systems to help reduce the occurrences of maritime incidents.

In Phase 2, CEMS aims to establish the first dedicated research platform for mixed environment operations for manned and remote/autonomous ships in Southeast Asia. The Centre also seeks to be the first in the world to deploy artificial intelligence into navigational training and assessment to enhance the competencies of future-ready seafarers. CEMS will develop new training methodologies by infusing multisensory elements into Mixed Reality (MR) and Extend Reality (XR). This will ensure a smooth skill transition to handle new and emerging fuels such as methanol, ammonia, and electric vessels.

Executive Director of SMI, Mr Tan Cheng Peng, said, “CEMS has demonstrated its ability to innovate and advance the maritime industry’s safety training methodologies in its Phase 1. Building on the strong foundations, we are excited about the prospects of the Centre’s plans in the next phase, as they push the boundaries of emerging training methodologies in AI and XR to prepare and upskill the future maritime workforce.”

New SMI Fellows Award
SMI also launched a new SMI Fellows Award to recognise, retain and reenergise experienced senior research talents in strategic maritime areas. The objective is to sustain Maritime Singapore’s competitiveness and anchor the future development of skilled talents in our local Centres of Excellence, Research Institutes and Institutes of Higher Learning The SMI Fellows Award seeks to recognise the senior researchers’ valuable achievements and their role in fostering the growth of the broader maritime R&D community through mentoring junior and aspiring researchers. The Award expands opportunities for the researchers by providing research seed funding, and exposure
as technical experts at international and local meetings and conferences. The SMI Fellows scheme will run for a period of three years, with total funding of S$2 million.

Four senior researchers received the inaugural SMI Fellows Award from SMI Chairman at the event. They are:
• Associate Professor Ng Szu Hui, Head of the Department of Industrial System Engineering and Management, College of Design and Engineering; and Research Track Leader at Centre for Maritime Studies, National University of Singapore
• Dr Fu Xiuju, Senior Principal Scientist, IHPC, A*STAR; and Director of the Maritime AI Research Programme
• Dr Liu Ming, Senior Research Fellow and Research Lead for Alternative Energy, MESD, NTU

Dr Pavel Tkalich, Principal Research Fellow, TMSI, NUS; and Senior Scientist at the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore.

Said Prof Low, “The SMI Fellows scheme will help to anchor our key research talents and build a pipeline of maritime researchers that Maritime Singapore needs to support its future growth. The four researchers have demonstrated outstanding contributions through their proven R&D track record and expertise in maritime R&D. My heartiest congratulations to each of them for receiving the SMI Fellows award.”
Source: Singapore Maritime Institute

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