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Singapore Launches Ocean Basin Research Facility

Image credits: a-star.edu.sg

The Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS) has opened its first ocean basin facility. The ocean basin enables the simulation of deep, intermediate, and shallow water working situations. With the help of industry partners, the facility can co-create, stress test, and validate solutions for unique concepts for future maritime systems and infrastructure.

“The TCOMS triple-helix collaboration between academia, public sector and industry enable co-innovating of solutions for the Marine and Offshore Engineering, Maritime, and other ocean-related sectors. TCOMS also performs a pivotal role in nurturing science and technology talent for the industries. Working with TCOMS, companies can capture new market opportunities in the region and beyond,” says Frederick Chew, CEO, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

TCOMS is a national Research and Development (R&D) centre for maritime, offshore, and other ocean-related businesses that were established in 2016. It is a partnership between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR), with funding from the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

TCOMS is critical to advancing national priorities like maritime security and coastal climate change adaptation as well as the changes in the marine & offshore engineering, maritime, and ocean-related marine & offshore businesses.

The next-generation ocean basin facility, which is situated in NUS, is furnished with wave and current generation systems, a towing carriage, and a movable floor to replicate the difficult ocean settings that offshore platforms, ships, and underwater systems work in. The centre pit’s water level of 50 meters makes it one of the deepest places on earth right now, making it possible to simulate operating conditions in ultra-deep water.

Additionally, TCOMS is constantly developing cutting-edge capabilities like cyber-physical modelling and simulation, which incorporate smart sensing, data analytics, and real-time data assimilation. A multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers with experience in engineering, ocean sciences, and naval architecture develops and supports these capabilities.

On projects ranging from intelligent offshore systems, autonomous and remotely operated ships, marine robotics, and nearshore infrastructure, industry players already collaborate closely with TCOMS. These businesses include technical service providers, classification societies, and large local enterprises as well as small and medium-sized businesses and multinational corporations.

The commissioning of the cutting-edge ocean basin facility is a significant achievement for TCOMS. This will create new opportunities for high-impact engineering research and initiatives in areas other than the Marine & Offshore Engineering sector, such as coastal flooding caused by climate change and rising sea levels.

TCOMS will also develop capabilities for combining ocean-atmosphere, coastal wave, and tidal-current models with engineering solutions to address the vulnerabilities of low-lying coastal areas such as Singapore.

According to Professor Tan Eng Chye, President of the National University of Singapore (NUS), TCOMS will create innovative solutions by combining interdisciplinary research expertise at NUS and across the universities, as well as A*STAR and industry partners, to address national imperatives and support the growth of new industry sectors in Singapore.

Furthermore, Professor Chan Eng Soon, CEO of TCOMS, stated that the opening marks the official start of TCOMS’s journey in basin simulation and testing, which will be carried out using cutting-edge capabilities developed in-house by their researchers.

TCOMS, with its unique combination of physical-numerical modelling and simulation capabilities, is also well positioned to do its part in equipping the next generation with the skills and expertise needed to lead the sector to greater heights. They also invite their stakeholders to use the facility as knowledge creation, training, upskilling, and lifelong learning platform.

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