Pushing the Frontiers of Innovation

Brandon Chia, Managing Director of Investments, at SP’s Concept Lab.

A former SP cable-jointing workshop at Woodleigh has been upcycled to be the birthplace of cutting-edge discoveries. The 23,000 sq ft site space is repurposed to be SP’s “Concept Lab”, and acts as a collaboration space for its open innovation team of 40 and co-development partners.

At the Concept Lab, breakthrough ideas to solve energy challenges faced by SP and corporate customers are refined, tested and co-developed with experts from industry and academia.

“We designed and built the part-lab, part-office space from scratch. We have a lab to test new concepts and technologies, and also an office space to see them at work,” explains Brandon Chia, who led the setting up of the lab in 2018.

One of the major breakthroughs was a Hydrogen Energy System that powers the first zero-emission building in Southeast Asia. The system uses solar energy to extract hydrogen from water, safely stores the hydrogen and generates electricity when needed.

A three-month pilot in 2019 by the team at Concept Lab and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) tackled the perennial problem of staff at one section of an office feeling warm while those in another are wrapped up in sweaters.

By using a combination of sensors and artificial intelligence, temperature uniformity was achieved at the SIT’s Dover campus. This microclimate control technology reduced energy usage by more than 30 per cent. Following its success, plans to potentially scale up this technology at the SIT’s campus in Punggol Digital District are underway.

“Innovation isn’t simply about new technology, it is also about relooking the business model and figuring out how new ideas can be made commercially viable and sustainable,” he explained. 

The SP scholar’s diverse experience since he first joined SP in 2002 helps him consider innovation from different angles. Brandon has held various positions in SP, ranging from operations, regulatory management and risk management to business development, mergers and acquisitions and technology development, in Singapore and Australia. This puts him in good stead for his newly minted role as Managing Director of Investments for SP’s international businesses.

Brandon with team members and partners from SIT & 75F [1] at the Concept Lab.

“Innovation isn’t simply about new technology, it’s also about relooking the business model and figuring out how new ideas can improve quality of life for customers, be sustainable and commercially viable,” he concluded.

— 27 February 2020

[1] A building intelligence solutions provider.

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