Professor Lam Khin Yong, Vice-President (Research), Nanyang Technological University
Mr Li Zhen, Chairman, Guoxuan High-Tech Company Limited
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good morning to one and all. It is my pleasure to be here to open the Guoxuan-NTU Smart Energy Laboratory, and witness the signing of a new agreement between Guoxuan and NTU to develop new technologies to overcome battery-related challenges. I would like to take this opportunity to speak about the importance of innovation in climate action.
Embracing Green Mobility for Climate Action
2 As a low-lying island, Singapore is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Under the Paris Agreement, we have committed to reduce our Emissions Intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. In 2014, our overall Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions totalled 50 million tonnes CO2-equivalent. Transport sectors accounted for 16 per cent of the emissions. Embracing green mobility has therefore been a key strategy in our plan to build a low-carbon and climate resilient Singapore.
3 We have introduced various initiatives to tackle vehicular emissions. Last year, the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources commissioned a study to identify cleaner vehicular technologies suitable for Singapore. We found electrification promising for many vehicle types. Under the Land Transport Authority (LTA) Electromobility Roadmap, Singapore aims to electrify between 134,000 Electric Vehicles (EVs) and 532,000 EVs by 2050, with public buses and taxis offering the biggest potential for electrification.
4 In June 2016, LTA and EDB awarded Singapore’s first EV car-sharing programme to BlueSG Pte Ltd. It is progressively deploying a 1,000-strong fleet of shared EVs and installing 2,000 charging points nation-wide by 2020. Up to 20 per cent of the charging points will be available for public use to lay the foundation for a national EV charging network to support EV proliferation moving forward. In fact, one of the charging station will be in one of the blocks in Jurong West, which is under my constituency. NTU, as part of the Smart Mobility Test Bed, as also seen trials of electric vehicles deployed within its campus.
Overcoming Technological Limitations Through Innovation
5 However, the deployment of electric vehicles is not without its challenges. In January 2017, my Ministry conducted a pre-Committee of Supply consultation session on reducing air pollution from vehicular emissions. We engaged motor traders, fleet owners, and academic professionals on adopting green vehicles.The limitations of green alternative technologies were cited as a challenge. Specifically, some of the participants cited the limited range of electric batteries as a challenge, and the draining of the batteries of electric buses from air conditioning the buses.
6 I am thus heartened that NTU and Guoxuan will be partnering to seek a breakthrough in overcoming the limited range of electric vehicles, focusing on the improved performance of electric vehicles, battery systems, and associated ecosystems for tropical cities. At the same time, it is equally important that these advances in technologies are commercially viable. Therefore, I look forward to the collaboration between Guoxuan and Integrated Facilities Services Consulting (IFSC) Pte Ltd on commercialising and commissioning the solar energy storage and management system technology in the Southeast Asian market.
Innovation in a Low-Carbon Economy
7 As the world transitions to a low-carbon economy, companies need to transform and innovate for a low-carbon economy. The critical role of innovation in the adoption of electromobility is not unique. As part of the wider push to realise Sustainable Development Goal 9 of sustainable industry and infrastructure, the Government will work with companies to overcome the perceived high costs to innovation and drive widespread technology adoption. In the environmental service sector, $45 million has been set aside for the Closing the Waste Loop (CTWL) research funding initiative to boost Singapore’s research and development capabilities in developing solutions to extract value and resources from key waste and residue streams including plastics, food, electrical and electronic products, and incineration ash.
8 As many of you may be aware, Singapore has designated 2018 as the Year of Climate Action. This year, we hope that organisations, educational institutions and individuals can make a public commitment to climate action through the Climate Action Pledge. I commend NTU for making their organisational pledge earlier this year. I urge more companies to make their pledge on our climate action website, www.climateaction.sg/pledge, to demonstrate their commitment to reduce their carbon footprint through innovative business practices. I am happy to hear that NTU’s collaboration with Alibaba is going well and becoming increasingly productive. I hope that NTU will have similar experience with Guoxuan.
9 Together, we can put Singapore at the forefront of green technology adoption, making a significant positive impact on on climate action. Congratulations, and thank you.