Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU), Enterprise Singapore, and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) launched a one-stop hub on 16 April to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups innovate, grow and thrive in the competitive energy sector. 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. EcoLabs is the ninth such Center of Innovation to support SMEs in Singapore and the first for the energy sector.
The new EcoLabs Center of Innovation for Energy (EcoLabs) will enable SMEs to further develop their clean energy-related innovations and business ideas, and commercialize them. 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 center will also work with corporate partners and investors to provide companies with up to 30 public and private-sector test-bedding sites, including high-tech lab facilities to specialized test centers, 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.
According to the press release from NTU, 32 companies, comprising SMEs and startups have initiated 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. For example, Continental, a German automotive manufacturing company, 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 commercialize these solutions. EcoLabs will work with YCH Group, Singapore’s largest home-grown supply chain solutions company, in the area of logistics, 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 1923 Pte Ltd, a real estate management firm operating private carparks in Singapore, 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 and develop a modular “civilization 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.
(Sources: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Straits Times)