NTU, Enterprise Singapore and SEAS to help SMEs in competitive energy sector

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Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), Enterprise Singapore, and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) have joined forces to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups innovate, grow and thrive in the competitive energy sector.

Serving as a one-stop hub, the new EcoLabs Centre of Innovation for Energy (EcoLabs) will enable these companies to further develop their clean energy-related innovations and business ideas, and commercialise them into technologies that will benefit industry and society. 

EcoLabs is the ninth Centre of Innovation in Singapore and the first for the energy sector.

To accelerate product development, EcoLabs will provide SMEs and start-ups with multidisciplinary technical support, cutting edge research equipment, and access to the latest scientific research in clean energy.

The national-level centre will work with corporate partners and investors to provide companies with up to 30 public and private-sector test-bedding sites, ranging from high-tech lab facilities to specialised test centres, to safely trial their ideas and innovations in a controlled environment. Business acceleration support, including strategic advisory, investment pitching and networking sessions will also be provided to SMEs and start-ups. 

NTU President Professor Subra Suresh, said, “Start-ups and SMEs foster innovation, fuel the creation of new jobs, and bring value to the Singapore economy. Since 2014, NTU’s innovation and enterprise company, NTUitive, has groomed over 190 start-ups. Through its carefully curated programmes, services and initiatives, NTU forges partnerships with leading industry collaborators to create an environment to ensure that scientific discoveries and technological innovation are also relevant and beneficial to society.”

Ted Tan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore, said, “By mobilising resources within the academia, industry association, and both the private and public sectors, we hope that SEAS and EcoLabs will encourage more product development that meets the needs of users and accelerate the adoption of innovative solutions for the energy sector.”

EcoLabs and SEAS will also help to identify and overcome industry challenges and accelerate the adoption of sustainable energy solutions in local and international markets. 

This collaboration is part of SEAS’ initiative to provide a platform for sustainable energy companies to thrive and to connect with the customers, investors, mentors and government agencies.

“SEAS is pleased to collaborate with EcoLabs to identify more industry problem statements and to drive industry-led innovation in the transition of energy systems and sustainability in Singapore. This partnership would also add value for start-ups in the SEAS network in the areas of research & development, technology innovation and test bedding,” said Kavita Gandhi, Executive Director, SEAS.

32 companies, comprising SMEs and startups have kickstarted collaborations with EcoLabs since January this year. This includes 14 corporate partners that have come on-board EcoLabs to help local SMEs and start-ups understand industry and market needs so that they are able to develop and refine their business ideas further.

One such company is Continental, a German automotive manufacturing company. It will collaborate with EcoLabs and its members in areas of new intelligent mobility services and electro-mobility solutions. Continental will also leverage its venture arm ‘Co-Pace’ to invest in promising companies and help commercialise these solutions.

On the logistics front, EcoLabs will work with YCH Group, Singapore’s largest home-grown supply chain solutions company, to on-board start-ups who provide innovative energy management solutions. YCH Supply Chain City will be a living lab to testbed new technologies in ambient cooling, robotic fleet management, electric forklifts and battery storage systems.

Another corporate partner is 1923 Pte Ltd, a real estate management firm operating private carparks in Singapore. 1923 Pte Ltd will work with EcoLabs to create sustainable zero-energy carparks. They will also develop carpark infrastructure for the deployment and testing of new technologies such as solar photovoltaic-electric vehicle charging stations and smart energy management systems.

Mistletoe-Singapore, an impact venture capital investor in the sustainable technology space, will provide capital for start-ups to commercialise technologies and scale their businesses. Mistletoe-Singapore will develop a modular “civilisation kit” that comprises self-sustaining building technologies, clean energy supply and water systems. This project kit allows start-ups a chance to pilot their solutions and develop new marketing channels.

EcoLabs will be managed by NTU’s Energy Research Institute (ERI@N), a leading research institute for innovative energy solutions, which has been pioneering new technologies such as the region’s first offshore clean-energy microgrid at Semakau Landfill, fully-electric transportation technologies, and smart and sustainable building management platforms.