By the middle of next year, owners of 5,500 or so compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles plying here - half of them cabs - can top up at one more refuelling station. This will bring their number in Singapore to six. Union Energy, which runs Trans-Cab, Singapore’s second-biggest cab company, has secured a 100,000 sq ft site in Tampines Street 92 to build a CNG station - its second since opening a 76,000 sq ft facility in Old Toh Tuck Road a little over a year ago.
The company, owned by businessman Teo Kiang Ang, has also made a bid for rival Smart Taxis’ two CNG stations in Mandai and Serangoon. There are only two other small refuelling kiosks - in Jalan Buroh and on Jurong Island, both operated by joint ventures between Singapore Petroleum Company and Sembcorp Gas.
CNG is considered to be environmentally friendlier than petrol and diesel because it produces less carbon and other emissions. It is also cheaper, costing around $1.40 a kg. One kg of gas is equivalent to 1.3 litres of petrol, which today costs $1.90 a litre. CNG is currently duty-free. But even if a duty of 20 cents a kg is phased in from 2012, as has been announced, it is likely to still be cheaper than petrol.
Trans-Cab’s Tampines refuelling station will also house a taxi workshop that will help it cope with a fast-expanding fleet. COE prices - which have trebled from a year ago to more than $47,000 for cabs - are expected to have a significant impact on larger operators because they usually have a bigger pool of ageing cabs to replace.
Singapore University of Technology and Design hasn't even been built yet, and won't officially open its doors for classes until 2012, but school officials and architects are already feverishly proposing ideas for its design. In fact, UNStudio was recently chosen from a shortlist of five firms to design the initial plot for the University's campus, which promises to be sustainably designed and feature expansive green roofs. Anticipated to become the fourth largest in university in Singapore, the new campus is also aiming to achieve a Platinum title, which is the highest BCA Green Mark rating available in Singapore.
The brand new university will be located conveniently between Singapore's principal Changi Airport and the Changi Business Park, and is being developed with the help of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The technical school will offer four key programs: Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD), Engineering Product Development (EPD), Engineering Systems and Design (ESD) and Information Systems Technology and Design (ISTD) – each formed with the goal of becoming a catalyst for technological advancement and economic growth.
UNStudio, in collaboration with Singapore-based DP Architects and Arup Singapore, designed the central campus facility that the rest of the university will eventually expand onto. The building, which is expected to be completed by 2015, is composed of a series of layers, courtyards, and meeting points. Two main axes, the learning and living spines, form a quadrant of buildings and a central plaza to serve as the heart of the new academic world.
The series of university buildings that form the heart of the campus will be covered in green roofs for additional outdoor space, and vegetated terraces and large shaded hallways and pathways will offer more areas for students to comfortably convene. Sustainable design features will also include proper site orientation, natural ventilation, passive solar design, and daylighting.
Green and sustainable design play a significant role in both of the buildings as well as the curriculum, and the eco-conscious efforts will be duly commended once the structure receives its Platinum Green Mark rating through Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority.
The Queenstown estate will get its landscape rejuvenated and even more park-like features. Rain gardens, an eco-corridor that makes the most of mature trees and the byways of a nondescript canal transformed into a pedestrian promenade featuring water and greenery. This elaborate landscaping will be part of the rejuvenation of the now sleepy Dawson Housing Board (HDB) estate in Queenstown.
Details about the landscaping were unveiled at the recent groundbreaking ceremony for two new 40-storey housing blocks in the estate, both designed by local award-winning firms. They are SkyVille@ Dawson by Woha and SkyTerrace@Dawson by SCDA Architects. The projects were launched last December and are expected to be ready by 2015.
Features of the plan include transforming Alexandra Canal to make it more aesthetically pleasing, and intensive greening along Dawson Road, so that there is continuous shading for pedestrians and cyclists who use this road. The HDB appointed Cicada, a local award- winning landscape architecture firm, to design it. These plots are similar to dry ponds, which fill up only after it rains. Plants in these gardens will filter out dirt in the water before the water enters the Alexandra Canal.
As for the eco-corridor, it will be converted from a section of Margaret Drive. Mature trees here will be kept as they will help provide shade and retain urban biodiversity. A water body will also run along this corridor and residents can get close to it. The estate already has some green features in place, such as the Alexandra Canal Linear Park, which was opened by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in 2007. The park, which connects Tanglin Road to Commonwealth Avenue, was built over part of the canal.
The Marina Reservoir is a reservoir in Marina Bay, Singapore formed in 2008 from the damming of the mouth of the Kallang Basin. With the completion of the Marina Barrage, the reservoir, which contained mainly salt water, has now become freshwater as excess water has been gradually released out to the sea after periods of heavy rain.
The catchment area that is resulted from the forming of the reservoir is about one-third the size of Singapore, and two of the island's major rivers - Singapore River, Kallang River and Geylang River, as well as Rochor River, a tributary of the Kallang River flow into it.
Marina Reservoir is now ready for use after Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew activated the Marina Reservoir fountain, one of the tallest in Singapore. The freshwater reservoir has been through a desalting process which started April last year, and is now set to supply about 10 per cent of Singapore's water needs.
PUB said desalting brings a reservoir's concentration of salt water down from around 35,000mg per litre - which is typical of seawater - to about 100mg per litre - considered suitable enough to be of drinking water standard. With advancements in membrane technology that allows treatment of water from highly urbanised areas, and the clean-up of the Kallang and Singapore rivers, the creation of this reservoir has been possible. The Marina Reservoir - Singapore's 15th reservoir - together with the Punggol and Serangoon Reservoirs to be ready next year, will increase Singapore's water catchment area from half to two-thirds of the island.
Water will first flow from drains in Orchard, Ang Mo Kio, Paya Lebar and Alexandra into the Marina Reservoir. It can then be pumped 14 kilometres through a pipe to Upper Peirce Reservoir within half an hour for storage before treatment. After treatment at Chestnut Avenue Waterworks, the water is then distributed to the rest of the island.
PUB said what this means is that we need to take care of our waterways. The PUB hopes to turn 90 per cent of Singapore into catchment areas in the future by tapping into smaller rivers and streams around the island, using variable salinity plant technology which is an integration of desalination and NEWater treatment processes.
A NEW recycling plant that makes the production of solar cells even greener was opened this month. The $100 million Tuas facility, set up by Norway's Metallkraft, is mainly to recycle material used at the world's biggest integrated solar cell complex, also in Tuas. That $2.6 billion facility, set up by fellow Norwegian firm Renewable Energy Corp (REC) has also now been officially opened.
The main function of Metallkraft's facility is to recycle REC's spent slurry, a liquid used to cut silicon wafers, which would otherwise become industrial waste. This recycling will be done without adding any chemicals or producing waste streams. REC can then use the recycled slurry instead of fresh slurry.
Metallkraft said its proprietary process can recycle 100 per cent of spent slurry.
26 charging stations are going to be set up across Singapore for an Electric Vehicle test bed programme. German firm Bosch has been appointed by an inter-agency taskforce coordinated in tandem by the Land Transport Authority and the Energy Market Authority to set up the infrastructure. The initial charging stations will supply the first batch of Mitsubishi i-MiEV's which are being specially brought in for the test-bed and other car manufacturers are expected to role out EV Models in 2011.
All of the charging stations can fully charge an electric vehicle within eight hours and there will be one quick charge station which can do this in just 45 minutes. EV users will have a major input in the testing programme to identify the most convenient locations for these charging stations. The charging infrastructure and number of stations will grow together with the expanding take-up rate of EVs in Singapore.
The Hanlong Group has put $100m into solar panels in Singapore. The Chinese firm's subsidiary will set up its headquarters in Singapore to pursue R&D into solar energy and assembling of concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) systems. Singapore Hanlong Group, a top firm in China's Sichuan province, has picked Singapore as its base to manage its business outside China. From here its subsidary Sichuan Zhonghan Solar Power Co Ltd will oversee assembly and sale of CPV systems as well as solar farm projects in regions such as Australia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
The firm's new CPV R&D centre in Singapore is expected to collaborate with the Solar Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS). They chose to set up Zhonghan Solar's first international headquarters outside China in Singapore because of it's reputation as a global hub for clean energy, in particular solar energy.
The Hanlong Group claims patents in China for more than 30 CPV and solar power related technologies and products and is investing CNY7.6 billion ($1.1bn) to set up the world's largest CPV plant in Chengdu in Sichuan province. Zhonghan Solar focuses on the research and development of its own proprietary third-generation photovoltaic technology, concentration photovoltaic (CPV), PV grid-connected system and CPV modules.
In October 2009, the company launched the world's first large-scale solar LED streetlight project in Dazu City, Chongqing. The company also has solar power generation plants in Inner Mongolia, Yunnan and Tibet.
Changi Airport Terminal 3 stunning greenery, in particular the vertical garden - Singapore's largest at five storeys high and 300m wide is really quite a feat of horticultural genius and one that is entirely in thanks to the airport's talented nursery staff.
Prior to the vertical garden's 40,000 plants - including the elephant vine, jade vine, climbers, money plant, dumbcane, ferns, sunflowers, the Swiss cheese plant, mast trees, fan palms and red palms - are grown in the terminal, they are first acclimatised to indoor conditions where, for example, there is less light. This process involves growing plants in shade houses, under partial sunlight, for between 3 and 6 months. About 80 per cent of the nursery is used as shade houses.
Situated on Airport Boulevard, just 5 minutes from the 4 terminals, the nursery is home to more than 300 species of plants, 40 palm species and 30 tree species. All of this greenery is used to landscape the transit and public areas of the terminals and the surrounding access areas.
The 12ha nursery - Singapore's largest - has been operational since the airport began running in 1981. It has 10 horticulturists, under the Changi Airport Group, who are also tasked with creating seasonal floral displays in the terminals. Before the plants are transplanted to the terminals, they are sprayed with white summer oil to make them resistant to pests such as mealybugs. Plants are usually displayed in Terminals 1 and 2 and the Budget Terminal for three months before they are replaced with new ones. Though the plants in T3 are rarely replaced thanks to the unique design of the terminal and its skylights.