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Sign up for the Carbon Zero Grand Challenge: Call for Proposals!

PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, is launching a S$6.5 million Carbon Zero Grand Challenge, focusing on water sustainability and a low-carbon future. This open innovation challenge with attractive prize funding aims to bring together researchers and companies worldwide to co-create game-changing solutions that can meet the operational needs of water utilities and remove carbon emissions from water treatment facilities in Singapore.


The water sector is currently estimated to contribute up to 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Although Singapore’s local water sector emissions represent less than 1.5% of the city-state’s total emissions, at the same time, every sector must play its role, including the water sector. Thus, PUB has set a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, and the challenges of climate change have turned its focus on ensuring a resilient and sustainable water supply in Singapore.

To ensure sustainable operations, PUB has been tackling carbon footprint issues by replacing carbon-based energy sources with solar PV systems installed on facility rooftops and reservoirs, reducing carbon emissions through energy efficiency, lowering desalination energy, and conservation. These efforts combined are estimated to decrease 600 kilotons CO2e/year of emissions by 2050. The next big challenge is removing the remaining 40% of 400 kt CO2e/year of emissions.

PUB’s approach to closing the carbon loop is through a three-pronged strategy:

  • Replace: carbon-based energy sources with solar power. The Bedok Reservoir and Lower Seletar Reservoir Floating Solar Farms are now in operation. Another two large-scale floating solar farms at Lower Seletar and Pandan Reservoirs will be installed in 2022.

  • Reduce: carbon emissions through water treatment processes. PUB is actively replacing its diesel-powered vehicles with Electric Vehicles (EV). The first batch of six EVs is expected to be deployed from November 2021.

  • Remove: carbon removal is an emerging technology focus area. PUB has already collaborated with different institutions on two projects exploring the use of electrolysis technology to capture carbon dioxide in seawater that can be desalinated at lower energy and the feasibility of removing carbon dioxide from biogas and carbonizing it with waste materials, respectively.

Challenge Statement

The Grand Challenge is open for innovators, investors, and thought leaders on water sector emissions to accelerate the implementation of innovative solutions to address Singapore’s net-zero carbon emission goals and scale to water facilities around the globe.

The purpose of the Grand Challenge is to seek carbon capture, utilization, removal, and other solutions beyond the water sector, at any technological readiness level that can be merged with PUB’s current operations and reach commercial-scale within the next decade.

Grand Challenge Structure and Timeline

The Grand Challenge consists of two phases of competition and a pilot-scale demonstration over approximately 45 months, including 21 months for the first two phases and 24 months for the pilot project:

  • Proposal Phase: Innovators will submit a detailed proposal addressing net carbon abated, cost, and other essential crucial of their solution. Up to six proposals will be awarded S$250,000 each to develop a Proof of Concept.

  • Proof of Concept Phase: Innovators demonstrate how their ideas or solution could be integrated within PUB’s operations through a desktop simulation and/or lab-scale study and develop a detailed design for a pilot project. Up to two proposals will be awarded S$2.5 million each to showcase a ~1 kiloton-scale version of their solution at a PUB facility in Singapore.

Date and Time

Proposals for the Carbon Zero Grand Challenge will be open from 19 October 2021 - 24 February 2022.

Find out more

The challenge is hosted on HeroX, a leading platform and open marketplace for crowdsourced solutions. You can visit the challenge website for more information.

Contact the Royal Danish Embassy in Singapore for more information about business opportunities and how Denmark seeks to inspire green transition in Southeast Asia:

Mark Edward Perry

Sector Expert at Royal Danish Embassy Singapore

Phone: +65 9088 5567


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