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  • Andrew Byrne

Cleantech start-ups to receive funding from Singapore maritime project

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

Companies building clean technology to reduce carbon emissions in the maritime industry can avail of funding from a new initiative led by EcoLabs Centre of Innovation for Energy at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU).

NTU EcoLabs have been joined by a small group of investors to provide a fund of at least SG$4 million (£2.2 million) with SG$150,000 available to firms in in-kind contribution, investments and co-funding of projects to help the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

MPA have been working on the adoption of clean technologies such as low-carbon alternative fuels, port equipment electrification, renewable energy integration and hybrid-electric propulsion systems to prepare Singapore for a sustainable maritime future.

This chimes with a report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2019 which concluded that decarbonising shipping would “require a combination of approaches, including the use of alternative fuels, upgrading of onshore infrastructure and reducing fuel demand by improving operational performance”.

Included in the EcoLabs programme funding is support which will allow access to laboratory spaces, mentorship, testbeds, training and pitching sessions. The programme is predominantly pitched to start-ups who can avail of a unique opportunity to deploy their technology in a real life context.

The timing is opportune as the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an economic slow-down and the expectation is that the nascent firms who are accepted for the programme will be well-positioned when the economy recovers. In addition to testing their technology, the firms will receive invaluable training in how to attract investors. Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, chairman of EcoLabs Governing Board said the programme would help “decarbonisation and sustainability start-ups bridge their transition from lab to market”.

NTU EcoLabs’ partners in the programme are the technology firm SDGx and three investment firms – Blue Ashva Capital, Origgin Ventures and Chrysalix Venture Capital – and the funding and support will be offered to up to ten start-ups a year through to the end of 2024.

The International Maritime Organisation says that shipping transports around 90% of global trade and estimated in a 2014 report that emissions from international shipping could grow between 50% and 250% by 2050 mainly due to the growth of world maritime trade.


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