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Our Energy Story

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Discover how the Singapore Energy Story sets the vision towards a net-zero energy future.

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Gain insights into the four switches that power Singapore’s economy and our daily lives.

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Unlocking the Potential of Hydrogen for Power Generation

07 Feb 2024
Featured Stories 07 Feb 2024

Hydrogen has the potential to meet half our power needs by 2050.

In our quest to meet Singapore’s energy needs while achieving our 2050 net-zero emissions goal, we are working continuously to decarbonise our energy sector.

One particularly promising area of interest is harnessing the potential of hydrogen for power generation.

Hydrogen as a Potential Fuel for the Future

Hydrogen, when produced through electrolysis powered by renewable sources, is a clean alternative to fossil fuels.

Unlike wind or solar power, hydrogen is an energy carrier rather than an energy source. It has the capability to store and transport energy.

Leong Jia Yong, a Senior Analyst in the Hydrogen & Sustainable Energies Office of Energy Market Authority (EMA) shared, “Hydrogen’s unique properties are advantageous for an alternative-energy disadvantaged country like Singapore. For example, we could bring in energy from countries abundant in renewables by importing hydrogen produced there and transporting it here.”

Leong Jia Yong, Senior Analyst in the Hydrogen & Sustainable Energies Office, focuses on tapping on hydrogen and its derivatives as an energy solution for Singapore.

Challenges in Harnessing Hydrogen

Achieving this, however, comes with challenges. For one, it requires considerable advancements in hydrogen technology, particularly in hydrogen transport and global production and supply chains.

Jia Yong explained, “Hydrogen may be the lightest molecule in the universe, but it is one of the most difficult to transport as it takes up a lot of space.”

To address this challenge, one potential solution is converting hydrogen into liquefied state. “However, this process takes a lot of energy to compress and cool hydrogen. Moreover, it is not an easy task to maintain hydrogen in a liquefied state when transporting it across long distances,” Jia Yong said.

Another method involves binding hydrogen to a heavier element or molecule, such as nitrogen, creating ammonia.

“Compared to hydrogen, ammonia is easier to liquefy and transport. But countries producing hydrogen will need to convert the hydrogen into ammonia before transporting it. Receiving countries also need the capabilities to extract the hydrogen by removing the nitrogen. All these processes require energy and significant financial resources.”

Stepping Up in the World of Hydrogen

As global attention increasingly focuses on hydrogen, Singapore also recognises its potential in decarbonising its energy supply and is intensifying efforts to develop and test advanced hydrogen technologies.

In 2022, the government launched the National Hydrogen Strategy, outlining Singapore’s commitment to developing hydrogen as a key pathway.

Singapore is actively advancing its hydrogen strategy through technology experiments, R&D investments, and international collaborations for low-carbon hydrogen supply chains. (Courtesy of Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore)


In parallel, EMA and the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) jointly launched an Expression of Interest (EOI) for an end-to-end low- or zero-carbon ammonia power generation and bunkering facility on Jurong Island. Six proposals have been shortlisted for a restricted Request for Proposal (RFP) where a lead developer will be selected to work with the agencies to jointly develop the proposed end-to-end solution.

“The plan is to explore using ammonia directly for power generation, bypassing the step of extracting the hydrogen atom from the ammonia,” Jia Yong shared. If successful, this approach could significantly simplify the use of ammonia as a fuel.”

While ammonia is currently the frontrunning hydrogen carrier, we are not closed off to exploring other carriers. Take liquefied hydrogen (LH2) for example and the ongoing technology developments to improve the economics of hydrogen.

To this end, the Singapore government has allocated $55 million under the Low Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative (LCER FI) to support 12 research, development, and demonstration projects focusing on low-carbon energy technologies. An additional $129 million will be made available for the second phase of the programme, with hydrogen as a key focus.

Teamwork to Realise the Hydrogen Vision

Reflecting on the potential of hydrogen, Jia Yong highlighted that the world is still in the early stages of the hydrogen journey. Crucially, Singapore cannot embark on this path alone.

Jia Yong said, “The global supply chain must evolve to make hydrogen a viable and affordable choice. The world will need to develop new infrastructure, including low- or zero-carbon hydrogen or ammonia production plants, hydrogen export and import terminals, pipelines. There is also a need to develop and scale up new applications for hydrogen or its derivatives.”

He cautioned against falling into a “chicken and egg cycle” where everyone waits for someone else to make the first move. Instead, Jia Yong underscored the importance of continued experimentation and collaboration by both the public and private sectors to turn the hydrogen dream into a reality.

“It is a promising path, but there are still many aspects to figure out — not only in Singapore, but also globally," Jia Yong emphasised.

Nevertheless, hydrogen production, storage, and utilisation techniques are expected to evolve and the potential for hydrogen to play a pivotal role in decarbonising our energy system can only get more compelling.


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