The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) have awarded funding to three consortiums led by Keppel FELS Limited, SeaTech Solutions and Sembcorp Marine, and comprising a total of 30 enterprises and research institutions, to research, design, build and operate a fully electric harbourcraft over the next five years. These electrification pilot projects will demonstrate both commercial and technical viability of specific use cases for full electric harbourcraft and will support Singapore’s broader plans to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the maritime transport sector.
Singapore has 1,600 licensed diesel powered harbourcraft that provide services such as the transport of personnel and supplies, to ships calling at the port. The funding for these projects will enable various technologies and charging infrastructures to be studied, test-bedded and deployed across different types of harbourcraft and operating profiles, through use cases proposed by the consortiums. The use cases involve two passenger ferries of different capacities and a lighter craft. By bringing together industry and academia, innovative and commercially viable solutions can be developed to support the deployment of electric harbourcraft in Singapore. Beyond the technologies and solutions, new business models will also be developed by the consortiums to enable wider adoption of electric harbourcraft.
MPA and SMI had launched the joint call for proposals on the electrification of harbourcraft in September 2020 after a series of workshops with the industry. The call for proposals drew strong interest from the maritime community with 73 maritime companies and 10 institutes of higher learning and research institutes submitting a total of 16 proposals. These proposals were evaluated based on their potential technical, operational and commercial viability, as well as strength of local capability development. The three selected proposals, adopting either new build or retrofit strategies, will tap on MPA’s Maritime GreenFuture Fund for the research, testing and piloting of low-carbon technologies.
Senior Minister of State for Transport, Mr Chee Hong Tat, said, “To build a sustainable hub port, we plan for the 1,600 harbourcraft operating in our waters to run on low-carbon fuels. One possible solution is the electrification of our harbourcraft fleet, which reduces carbon emissions and has zero pollution.”
Quotes by consortium leads
Keppel O&M CEO, Mr Chris Ong, said, “As the maritime sector adopts cleaner energy solutions, Keppel O&M is seeing increasing demand for electric-powered marine vessels and sustainable charging infrastructure. With extensive experience in the design, construction and digitalisation of vessels, Keppel O&M is well-positioned to support the decarbonisation efforts by MPA and capture opportunities brought about by the global energy transition. Keppel O&M will lead the consortium to develop electrification solutions for harbourcraft, including Solid State Transformer based charging infrastructure and electric retrofit kits. This is in line with Keppel’s Vision 2030, which places sustainability at the core of its strategy.”
SeaTech Solutions International VP Technology, Mr Prabjot Singh Chopra, said, “Electrification of Harbour Crafts is critical for the multi-pronged initiatives by MPA in the journey of maritime decarbonisation. One of the fastest ways for the Port of Singapore to transit to net-zero carbon emissions is to allow Singapore’s harbourcraft segment to benefit from it. SeaTech Solutions is proud to contribute and lead the Goal Zero Consortium for Harbourcraft Electrification. Our consortium consists of a diverse group of industry partners and research institutes. Commercialisation through owning and deploying a zero-carbon lighter craft vessel will be done by our key consortium Industry partner, Yinson Green Technologies, Singapore as part of this program.
Sembcorp Marine President and CEO, Mr Wong Weng Sun, said, “Sembcorp Marine is honoured to have the opportunity to collaborate with MPA and SMI to accelerate the transition of Singapore’s harbourcraft industry towards a low-carbon future. We will be working closely with SP Group and key partners to develop electric vessels and their charging solutions, and to co-create an innovation-led ecosystem for marine electrification. This dovetails with other ongoing projects of Sembcorp Marine including the joint-development of a hydrogen fuel cell system onto a roll-on/roll-off vessel. Sembcorp Marine is committed to contribute to a greener and more sustainable Maritime Singapore.”