Energy for Transport


To be updated

Cities around the world are battling against growing environmental and social impacts due to tailpipe pollutants and road congestions. Private vehicle ownership, long seen as a reflection of affluence, makes great contributions to those growing impacts. While alternative vehicles such as electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles represent cleaner and more efficient road transport options, they too add to road congestion. Major cities around the world have thus employed vehicle control measures to rein in the growth rate of vehicle populations. In the case of Singapore, heavy taxes are levied onto the purchase price of all vehicles registered and sold in the country making it literally one of the most expensive city to own a car. Under the revised Carbon Emission-based Vehicle Scheme (CVES), there are growing uncertainties about the economics of cleaner and more efficient road transport in Singapore. The uncertainties are further compounded by the developments in the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence as cars in the future might not even be driven by human drivers.

Singapore is a major shipping port with its strategic location in the Straits of Malacca. The sheer number of vessels entering and leaving the ports of Singapore strongly motivates the country to reduce environmental damages caused by the maritime sector. With the commencement of the country’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Bunkering Programme in 2017, Singapore aims to supply LNG rather than petroleum-based fuels to ships by 2020. The country is also actively exploring alternative and cleaner technologies for powering ships in the future.

Changi Airport of Singapore is one of the world's busiest airports by international passenger and cargo traffic and is one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia. Changi Airport serves more than 100 airlines flying to 400 cities in around 100 countries and territories worldwide. Each week, about 7,200 flights land or depart from Changi, or, about one every 80 seconds. The aviation sector is exploring the feasibility of using alternative jet fuels with less pollution compared to petroleum-based ones. Airline manufacturers are also looking into fuel-efficient aircraft and engine designs to make flying more environmentally sustainable.

Research conducted under this track aims to address future social and environmental issues on land, sea and air transport through examining the interplay between policy and technology. For land transport, this track aims to contribute to the cleaner and more efficient means of moving goods and people. For sea transport, this track aims to contribute to the global effort in reducing environmental impacts of international shipping. For air transport, this track aims to contribute to the future of safe and efficient air-travel. In addition to policies, this track will have increasing focus on technology and system-level assessments so as to craft the needed industrial and economic policies towards a future resilient and sustainable transport system.

Over-Arching Questions

  • What are the future costs and benefits of a large-scale deployment of alternative vehicles with a view of the greater national energy system?
  • How could developments in the Internet-of-Things and artificial intelligence transform the transport sector in the future?
  • What are the implications of future international regulations on Singapore’s aviation and shipping industries?