$10 Million Floating Lab Set Up for Energy Innovation

floating lab
floating lab

Published Apr 15, 2020 5:36 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Energy Market Authority, part of Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) have forged a $10 million partnership to develop distributed energy resources, digitalization and emerging low carbon energy alternatives. A floating lab will be set up in Singapore for testing.

The partners have launched a grant call for solutions relating to energy storage systems and smart power grids for the offshore and marine environment. The solutions should seek to reduce overall energy usage and carbon footprint while enhancing overall operational efficiency. 

The floating lab is expected to be operational by the end of 2021. It will have onboard:  

•  LNG bunkering facilities for harbor craft and small vessels. Supported by FueLNG, a licensed LNG bunker supplier in Singapore and Keppel O&M’s joint venture with Shell Eastern Petroleum, the floating lab will also be able to refuel LNG to FueLNG’s bunker vessel; 

•  Pressurized LNG tanks (IMO Type C) and cargo handling system suitable for simultaneous bunkering and power generation;

•  A smart grid and power generation that includes  LNG, Solar Photovoltaic and Energy Storage Systems such as batteries;

•  A Digitalised Energy Management application leveraging Keppel O&M’s proprietary Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform, AssetCare, to enable machine learning on energy output optimization as well as predictive analytics for efficiency and reliability; and

•  A dedicated area where Keppel O&M can work with the wider ecosystem to testbed and demonstrate innovative technologies in the marine and floating power space, such as biofuels, hydrogen or electrification solutions for harbor vessels. 

The lab will be located off Keppel O&M's shipyard and will be able to generate electricity from LNG and other energy sources to meet the needs of its yard in Singapore, with excess electricity to be exported to the national power grid. It will be able to leverage Keppel’s smart yard low latency connectivity infrastructure powered by M1 in the digitalization of the smart grid. 

The lab will also serve as a proof-of-concept for Keppel O&M’s proprietary small-scale LNG to power solution which it says is more economical and sustainable than diesel fueled power generators. It can be used to meet power demands in areas with limited power infrastructure as well as provide secure power in the event of natural catastrophes. 
The small-scale LNG market is expected to serve up to 100m tonnes of LNG by 2030, for both the power and marine markets, according to a recent report by APEC Energy Working Group September 2019. Global market revenue for virtual power plants is expected to expand by more than 48 percent per annum between 2018 and 2028, according to Navigant Research. Keppel O&M says the floating lab can function as a distributed energy solution for this trend of consumers, reducing costs and generating extra revenue.