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Experts address sustainability, environment and energy challenges

14 June 2012

One of the panels of discussion at the symposium addressing energy challenges for Singapore: (from left) Mr Benedict Chia, Deputy Director (Domestic Plans), National Climate Change Secretariat; Prof Armin Aberle, CEO, Solar Energy Research Institute; and Prof Farooq Shamsuzzaman, NUS Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Researchers and experts shared the latest developments in the environment and energy sector during the first Sustainability, Environment & Energy Research (SEER) @ NUS Symposium. Organised by the NUS Energy Office, the two-day event on 13 and 14 June saw more than 150 participants from the government, industry and research community.

At the opening of the event, Prof Tan Thiam Soon, NUS Vice Provost (Education) and Director of the NUS Energy Office, said that academia has to work very closely with industry and government agencies to tackle the critical issues in energy, environment and sustainability.

Today's energy challenges include infrastructure constraints and environmental pressures, coupled with growing energy demands from China, India and ASEAN, noted Prof Michael Quah, Deputy Director of the NUS Energy Office. These are all happening even as energy supplies globally are steadily decreasing.

Prof Quah, who is also a Professor of Practice at the NUS Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, said that to address this situation, integrated "systems of systems" solutions are called for. "SEER's aim is to highlight both developments in key technologies and the breadth of integrative work within NUS of value to Singapore and the region," he said.

On the national level, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) is looking to reduce emissions in the high-energy-consumption industrial sector, said Mr Toh Wee Khiang, Director of the Environmental Technology Office at NEA. The main industries identified are the petrochemical refineries, semi-conductor manufacturers, data centres and pharmaceutical plants.

NUS is well-poised to advance energy research with some 160 energy experts working across disciplines in the faculties and research institutes such as the NUS Environmental Research Institute, Tropical Marine Science Institute, Solar Energy Research Institute and the Energy Studies Institute. Many collaborative projects are also on-going with government agencies and the industry.