Annual Report 2014
Country Reports


Narasimalu Srikanth(1), Michael L. S. Abundo(1), Mary Ann Joy Quirapas(1), Pavel Tkalich(2) (1) Energy Research Institute @ Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N). (2)Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI), National University of Singapore

The Energy Research Institute at the Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N), inaugurated in June 2010, is supported mainly by the Economic Development Board (EDB) to develop industry oriented innovations and train specialists in clean energy. ERI@N focuses on areas such as wind and marine renewables, green buildings, e-mobility, energy storage and fuel cells, and has been actively leading efforts related to ORE for Singapore and beyond.

ERI@N’s dedicated Wind & Marine Team forms the core group that serves as the ember for Singapore’s ORE RD&D. Among the key research, development, and demonstration efforts of the team are the following:

  1. Ocean Energy (e.g. Tidal Currents, Wave) Resource Assessment in Singapore and Southeast Asia,
  2. Ocean Energy Test Bedding Activities (e.g. Sentosa Tidal Test Site, Tanah Merah Wave Energy Test Site),
  3. Advanced Materials and Coatings Development,
  4. Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator-Singapore (REIDS) - Offshore and
  5. Standards Formation for ORE.

ORE is now among the emerging fields in the Singapore Maritime Institute’s R&D 2025 roadmap (SMI, 2014). SMI will closely track developments on the following ORE aspects: “tidal energy, study of tidal patterns, offshore support (installation) vessel, transportation of energy back to land and integration of RE to the existing power grid.”

The Singapore Government has awarded S$15 million worth of research grants to develop energy generation and micro-grid systems to researchers in the country (Economic Development Board, 2014). This funding initiative aims to promote interdisciplinary and commercially relevant R&D in the energy sector. One of the projects funded is the DG-TISE: Flexible Distributed Generation Using Tidal In-stream Energy System for Remote Island Applications by ERI@N’s Wind and Marine Renewables Team. This project aims to develop “a novel sensing and signal analysis system which will provide a tidal energy resource measurement method to account for the geographical sea bed conditions and tidal current measurements”. Subsequently, a turbine will be developed for tropical sea waters, which have lower tidal flows than tidal energy hotspots such as Canada and the northern European regions.

Besides this grant, a number of ERI@N’s on-going projects that have the government agencies’ support are detailed below. Aside from ERI@N, the Tropical Marine Studies Institute (TMSI) of the National University of Singapore (NUS) has also done studies on the marine renewable energy research and development ecosystem; the Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI) also supports marine renewable value chain in Singapore and beyond. 

Tidal In-Stream Energy (TISE) Resource Assessment in Singapore
A macro level tidal in-stream energy assessment in Singapore waters has been done by ERI@N using data from the TMSI. Theoretically, the available Tidal In-Stream Energy (TISE) potential of Singapore is about 3 TWh annually. Technically, the extractable energy with today’s TISE harvesting technology (capacity factor of around 30% to 40%) is about 900 to 1,200 GWh/year. Practically, the limit of extractable energy from Singapore waters, without damaging the environment (using a Significant Impact Factor of 10%-20%), is about 300-600 GWh per year. The actual potential will need to be determined through a detailed resource assessment and environmental studies.

Candidate sites where the tidal in-stream potential is relatively high and site characteristics (depth, navigation & shipping traffic, etc.) are technically suitable (subject to permitting and consenting requirements) have been mapped. Together with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) Centre in Singapore, ERI@N has estimated that a total installed capacity of 250 MW of tidal power leads to achievable CO2 emission reduction of roughly 250 kt/year (or 1.5 %) for electricity production and the calculated marginal abatement cost is about S$75 /tCO2.

Sentosa-ERI@N Tidal Test Site
Supported by Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Core Innovation Fund, a joint collaboration between Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and ERI@N has been set up. This Sentosa Tidal Test Site project aims to build up the competency of R&D in NTU and Singapore on the harvesting of tidal energy, by providing the opportunities to develop local technologies able to harness the energy available in the narrow channel between Singapore and Sentosa. The Sentosa tidal project aims to showcase tidal energy extraction as a feasible and sustainable energy generating technology in Singapore. The location selected was the water passage between mainland Singapore and Sentosa Island.

The project commenced with an in-depth energy assessment of the region where the device was to be situated. After the energy potential of various locations was studied, the team, taking into account deployment factors and accessibility, determined the final location where the device could be located. The final design shown below was based on a high solidity aerofoil design with measured power coefficient (Cp) around 0.35. Construction of the floating platform is completed and the 1/3 scale (0.5 kW) turbine shown in  Figure 1 was installed in March 2013. In November 2013, ERI@N and SDC officially launched the Sentosa Tidal Test Site (NTU, 2013).

Floating hinged turbine support frame (Left) & Scaled (1:3) tidal turbine in tow tank (Right)

Marine Renewable Energy at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal
The ERI@N Wind and Marine Renewables Team has also embarked on the Tidal-In Stream and Wave Energy Resource Assessment project that includes a feasibility study, device development and prototype installation at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore. This project has been funded under the Maritime Clean Energy Research Programme (MCERP) between the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) and NTU. The project aims to investigate the potential marine renewable energy sources available at Singapore’s jetties. Together with Singapore Cruise Centre which operates a number of ferry terminals including Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, ERI@N’s Wind and Marine Team performed a resource assessment of the marine renewable energy that can be harnessed in a terminal or jetty setting. The tidal energy potential (using tidal barrage technology) at the terminal is 36 MWh/year with a pool area of 18,000 square meters. The wave energy potential is at least 28 MWh/year for a 100 m capture line. ERI@N envisions that energy harvested from marine renewables in such ports/jetties in Singapore can result in (1) self-powered jetties/ports, (2) provision of excess power to nearby installation, and (3) shore power to berthing boats.

Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator-Singapore (REIDS)
REIDS will be the first hybrid micro-grid in the region which will incorporate power generation from different renewable energy sources, including solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, tidal-current, diesel, storage and power-to-gas technologies, and ensure these energy sources operate well together (NTU, 2014). The micro-grid will be located offshore at Semakau Landfill and it is expected to produce power in the megawatt (MW) range. The scale of the micro-grid (~1 MWp), which could power around 250 households, will be suitable for small islands, isolated villages and to function as a backup emergency power supply (NTU, 2014).

Aerial photo of Semakau Island and the planned location of the renewables test bed (

REIDS is a partnership, structured as a consortium between: (i) Singapore public agencies; (ii) corporations active in the energy field with a focus on integration of broad range of energy sources, end-uses and storage; and, (iii) academia and public research institutes. The consortium will be led by ERI@N, with the support of the Economic Development Board. Ten energy and clean technology industry leaders are involved in the project: Accenture, Alstom, ClassNK, DLRE, GDF Suez, Renewable Energy Corporation, Schneider Electric, Trina Solar, Varta and Vestas. REIDS is expected to “attract $20 million worth of projects over the next five years, in addition to the initial $8 million investment in infrastructure on the Semakau Landfill” (NTU, 2014). REIDS was officially launched by Minister S Iswaran during the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) in October 2014.

Standards Formation Participation for Ocean Renewable Energy
ERI@N has also initiated participation in the International Electrotechnical Commission’s Marine Energy - Wave, Tidal and Other Water Current Converters standards technical committee IEC-TC114 through SPRING, the official body responsible for standards within Singapore. As a result, standards for ORE will be formulated to account for tropical conditions. Marine energy converters developed in regions outside the tropics may need some tweaking to suit the tropical environment, e.g. relatively lower resources (i.e. tidal currents, tidal ranges, wave heights), spatially distributed resources and load centres (i.e. island ecosystem); with some modifications, the systems and complementary technologies – including deployment and installation methods – will somewhat vary across the whole value chain.

Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI): Part of the Marine RE R&D Ecosystem
The TMSI of the National University of Singapore (NUS) is leading the national research effort in hydrodynamic and wind wave modelling. TMSI is building a Geographic Information System (GIS) database of bathymetry and other information important for estimation of tidal, wave, and ocean energy. The recently developed tidal hydrodynamic forecasting system4 is useful for the estimation of tidal power capacity in Singapore Strait.The extended regional version is under development. Regional wind-wave model has been fitted to cover the entire Sunda Shelf.

The models are indispensable tools for optimal placing of tidal power and wave energy harvesting farms. Other ocean energy resources - exploiting ocean currents, salinity and temperature gradients – can also be analysed using well-calibrated regional ocean models.

DHI: Supporting the Marine RE Value Chain in Singapore & Beyond
DHI Water & Environment (Singapore) Pte Ltd has been assisting tidal power developers in Singapore to assess the overall potential, and a number of sites have carried this through into an environmental scoping study. The Singapore straits are strongly tide-driven in terms of hydrodynamics(see Figure 11 below), but are also heavily used for industrial, shipping and recreational activities. As an extension to these studies a number of array optimisation tools and web-based online decision support systems have been developed (screen shot below).

The tidal currents of Singapore are very well mapped due to extensive monitoring over the past eight years using an array of Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs)– presently 14 instruments are deployed and maintained as part of other ongoing commercial and research activities. Potential for resources have also been identified in and around the industrial estate of Jurong Island with a total discharge of cooling water above 1mill m3/hour. DHI, which is active in Singapore providing a variety of services to the Maritime Port Authority, is collaborating with ERI@N in the development of a novel Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) software for ORE, particularly with device dependent energy assessment for various types of ORE resources.



EMEC, ERI@N, and ClassNK
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and ERI@N will be collaborating to support further development of the marine renewable energy industry in Southeast Asia. ERI@N will work together with EMEC and ClassNK to set up scale test facilities in Singapore which offers a different climate and sea conditions to EMEC’s own scale test sites in Orkney. This collaboration will be beneficial to both parties by leveraging the strengths of each – “EMEC in boosting the development of international markets and common standards and NTU’s, with its strong expertise in sustainability research and its strategic location in Singapore, acts as a gateway to Southeast Asia” (EMEC, 2013).

Southeast Asian Collaboration for Ocean Renewable Energy (SEAcORE)
To understand the regional energy needs and ocean energy technology challenges specific to tropical conditions, ERI@N set up the Southeast Asian Collaboration for Ocean Renewable Energy (SEAcORE) with neighbouring countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

This collaboration is envisioned to be a platform for the exchange of ideas, initiatives, and experiences from R&D, policymakers, and industry. It forms a collated and active core network of expertise and technical know-how in Southeast Asia (SEA) to set, assist, augment, and facilitate the adoption of ORE in the region. It also promotes the diffusion of renewables and creates new markets for partner industrial firms. Joint projects in resource mapping and assessment are now being discussed.

SEAcORE members during the Singapore International Energy Week 2014


The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Centre for Energy (ACE) has recognised the efforts of ERI@N in leading the SEAcORE initiative and officially made it as ACE’s technical working group for ocean renewable energy in the region. ERI@N-SEAcORE together with ACE will drive projects, activities and events that lead to increasing awareness and the uptake of ocean renewables in Southeast Asia.

Joint Industry Programme (JIP)
The Joint Industry Programme is managed by ERI@N and involves PhD students, NTU professors, and local and multi-national companies who are engaged in cutting- edge research into various aspects of Offshore Renewable Energy. Today, 23 doctoral projects are in progress with research topics spanning resource forecasting, sub-structure studies, power generation, transmission, grid, installation, and maintenance. 

Regional Network and International Conferences towards increasing ORE Uptake in SEA 
The Energy Market Authority (EMA) of Singapore organises the annual Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW). ERI@N conducted its annual conference on offshore renewables (includes different sessions on offshore wind, and marine renewables, e.g. ocean thermal energy conversion, wave, and tidal energy) at the Asia Clean Energy Summit (ACES) 2014, in October. This conference provided an opportunity for marine energy experts, industries and organisations both within and beyond Singapore to gather and share new and cutting edge research and developments in the field of marine renewable energy. ACES 2014 attracted 200 experts worldwide to participate in the thee-day event, and will continue to be featured at SIEW 2015.

As a further development, Singapore has been chosen to be the next location for the Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC) in 2016 (AWTEC, 2014). It will be the first time that an international ocean renewable energy conference is held in Southeast Asia. ERI@N, along with experts from Japan, Korea, UK and Australia, will run the conference, focussing on the clean energy needs of SEA countries and other tropical regions.

4 For more information, please see: