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National University of Singapore’s Campus as a Living Lab Initiative

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The National University of Singapore (NUS) is looking to maximise innovation, seamlessly blending the physical and the digital realms through the Campus as A Living Lab at NUS (CALL@NUS) initiative. NUS is positioning itself as a digital crucible, fusing the tangible with the intangible to propel research innovations into real-world solutions.

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By leveraging the NUS Digital Twin platform, CALL@NUS is not merely a concept but a living and operational environment where researchers and industry partners merge to birth impactful and scalable sustainability solutions.

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye envisions the campus as more than just a place of learning, “At NUS, we are presenting the campus as a Living Lab, where our physical infrastructure and operational systems serve as an integrative test-bed for sustainability solutions. This opens up a myriad of possibilities for impactful discoveries, game-changing innovations, and transformative education.”

In the field of sustainable energy projects, a Low Carbon Living Laboratory stands as a testament to the potential of digitalisation. NUS researchers together with a sustainability-related solutions company are embarking on a journey, utilising the unique CALL@NUS initiative to breathe life into a multi-faceted project that aims not only to advance NUS’ Campus Sustainability Roadmap 2030 but also to align with the Singapore Green Plan 2030.

Digitalisation takes centre stage with the integration of a smart AC/DC hybrid microgrid, a brainchild of the collaboration hosted on the NUS Kent Ridge campus through a Master Research Collaboration Agreement (MRCA) signed between NUS and sustainability-related solutions company early last year.

The marriage of NUS’ expertise in energy and sustainability research with technological prowess is set to birth cutting-edge technologies for smart grid management and district cooling, with global applicability once validated.

Through the implementation of a digital twin and leveraging comprehensive sensing technologies and modelling, NUS researchers and sustainability-related solutions companies are set to innovate distributed energy management solutions.

This digital orchestration aims to seamlessly integrate and optimise diverse sustainable energy technologies, from renewable energy resources to smart electric vehicle charging solutions, creating an infrastructure network that not only reduces energy consumption but also enhances grid reliability and climate resilience.

In another digital frontier, the project under the MRCA focuses on the implementation of an innovative district-wide cooling network. This involves deploying a proprietary material-based thermal energy storage technology, techniques utilising outdoor air for cooling, and real-time AI-based optimisations. Further, the integration of these digital technologies with the AC/DC hybrid microgrid holds the promise of significantly reducing the carbon footprint and energy consumption for cooling at NUS.

According to NUS President Professor Eng Chye, this multi-pronged project is designed to scale across the entire NUS campus in different phases, showcasing the potential for replication for third-party customers locally and abroad.

These collaborative projects are nurturing the next generation of sustainability leaders. NUS students are not merely spectators but active participants in the digital revolution, with projects like the smart AC/DC hybrid microgrid seamlessly woven into the curriculum at the NUS College of Design and Engineering.

As the digital symphony continues, NUS and sustainability-related solutions companies are exploring partnerships in other energy and sustainability-related areas, such as ammonia cracking and solar energy research, the collaboration exemplifies the forward-thinking spirit needed to build a resilient and sustainable future.


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