The aim is to cultivate a culture of energy and environmental conservation by implementing systems that can educate, connect and service stakeholders in existing and new communities and townships.
High-temperature solar thermal energy is a renewable and clean source of energy that can be used to provide a highly efficient waste-to-energy process. Experimentation of gasification of wastes using solar radiation can produce high-quality syngas.
The experimental results will be used to validate the modeling and simulation of the reaction processes within the reactor. Syngas produced will be studied for conversion to dimethyl ether (DME), a liquid fuel. The ashes from the gasification process can be utilized as biochar, adsorbent, soil amendment and converted into other high value materials. The effects of the emissions from the gasification system on human health and environment requires evaluation, and establishing a standard protocol for rapid screening of gasification ashes on the basis of in vitro and in vivo testing.
In many industrial applications, waste can be effectively converted to useful resources with new and improved waste valorization technologies. This in turn, reduces the need for virgin material, potentially avoiding environmental impacts significantly. Hence, establishing effective coordination mechanism between potential waste generators and buyers is crucial.
However, designing such coordination schemes is challenging as uncertainties in waste characteristics may affect downstream production/utilization. Furthermore, effective schemes should achieve long term economic and environmental requirements.
Integrating stochastic optimization, agent-based modelling and environmental assessment tools, the team focuses on developing analytical and computational models for multi-operator waste-to-resource systems. Such models provide important support for decision makers to achieve environmentally sustainable and cost effective solutions for megacities.
Urban Metabolism Analysis (UMA) is an important tool for studying the use of energy and resources in urban ecosystems. Applying methods such as material flow analysis, substance flow analysis and energy flow analysis, UMA is able to quantify, describe and evaluate the sustainability of different flows and stocks (that is, accumulation) of energy and materials within an economy or geographical boundary. UMA is also effective in tracing any evolutions of these variables with time. Broadly speaking, large metabolic throughput, low metabolic efficiency, and disordered metabolic processes are known to cause an urban system to become “unhealthy” and unsustainable. State-of-art UMA methodology combines flow and stock analyses with top-down economic input-output analyses (an example is shown in the diagram above) and bottom-up process-based life cycle assessment (LCA), in order to evaluate the state of sustainability due to the use of materials and energy by the waste utilization technologies.
The comparison of environmental impacts due to the current and proposed technologies will be done based on a functional unit (e.g. 1 kg of the food waste recycled). This will form the basis for estimating the difference in impacts when our proposed technologies replaced current technologies.
Scenario analysis will be applied to help scale up the waste utilization, and understand the net environmental impacts caused by the technologies. An example of such a scenario may be that by 2020, Singapore will target to recycle and utilize an additional 20% of its horticultural waste into compost, by applying a combination of AD and composting technology.
The overall outcomes of this project are detection methods, occurrence data, control methods, modeling and management tools which can provide an evaluation of environmental impact and health risks under different scenarios. Ultimately, these tools can assist policy makers and regulators to manage and reduce the emerging contaminants associated with algal blooms and antimicrobial resistance.
We seek to develop an integrated ‘Monitoring, Modelling and Management’ (M3) system for algal blooms. Specifically, we will address the sources and fundamental mechanisms of bloom formation, from species composition to interactions with biotic and abiotic environmental factors. These will then be incorporated into models for prediction and risk assessment. In addition, novel physical, chemical and biological methods will also be developed to control algal blooms.
We plan to determine the relative importance of different components that contribute to the growing antimicrobial resistance problem in Singapore. We will also use metagenomics and phage isolation experiments to study possible new mechanisms of controlling antimicrobial resistance, which may offer possibilities for the discovery of new enzymes and mechanisms from phages that can attack specific bacteria, including antibiotic resistant ones.