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Singapore’s Hydrogen Strategy & Advancements at A Glance

10 Aug 2023, by Kristen Gutierrez

National Hydrogen Strategy

The combustion of hydrogen is free of emissions, with water being its only byproduct. Armed with this knowledge and Singapore’s commitment to scientifically potent decarbonisation, their National Hydrogen Strategy (NHS) was rolled out in 2022.

The strategy is anchored on three core components—research and development, infrastructure development, and international collaborations. It focuses on both green hydrogen, produced through renewable energy sources, and blue hydrogen, derived from natural gas with carbon capture and storage.

The NHS strives for the adoption of hydrogen across the power production, industry, marine, aviation, and land transport sectors to meet the 2050 Hydrogen Goal. Currently, these sectors make up almost 98% of the city-state’s emissions.

Key Developments Since the Announcement

With expected completion in 2026, Keppel Corporation has made massive strides toward greener electricity supply with their newly unveiled hydrogen-ready power plant on Jurong Island. It can operate with 30% hydrogen content in its fuel mix and produce much lower emissions than typical power plants.

There has also been heavy investment into research institutes like the $25 million country-first NUS Centre for Hydrogen Innovations headed by Professor Liu Bin who ranks among the 1% of most cited researchers. Making hydrogen energy commercially viable sits at the core of all their experimentation.

Aware of its land area and high urban density limitations, Singapore has signed several Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with international partners like Japan and Australia to import liquefied and piped gaseous hydrogen. Governments and corporations will collaborate across battery energy storage systems and net-zero industrial parks.

Another notable project is the deployment of hydrogen-powered buses. This initiative not only reduced carbon emissions but also demonstrated the viability of hydrogen as a transportation fuel.

Perhaps, one of the most radical pieces of progress since the strategy’s release is Datapark+, a floating data centre campus which resumed construction in January 2022. Data centres already use 7% of Singapore’s electricity supply, so Datapark+ would revolutionise their cycle of sustainability in consumption and emission. The project has partnered with Woodside Energy Australia’s H2Perth, a hydrogen electrolysis plant that shall export 1,500 tonnes per day of liquid hydrogen per day to Singapore.

Limitations Turned Opportunities

With all that said, the NHS is yet to establish concrete targets for the import, distribution, storage, and utilisation of hydrogen that can be used to gauge success. There is room for a single comprehensive legislation to consolidate local regulatory frameworks, demand stimulation for businesses to adopt hydrogen power, and investment mitigation risks.

The city-state faces high production costs of green hydrogen that pose a challenge for research and development in devising cost-effective production methods. Furthermore, infrastructure constraints call for the construction of more hydrogen refuelling stations and the integration of hydrogen technologies into the existing energy system.

Singapore’s journey towards decarbonisation stresses the need to act now to account for hurdles and multi-dimensional change. It serves as a testament to the power of policy, technology, and collaboration in driving the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy. As the city-state continues to advance its hydrogen strategy, they have catapulted themselves to the forefront of other countries embarking on their decarbonisation journeys. Luckily, they are not alone.

Further recommendations:

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