Ara Ake Ecolabs WITT v2

From left to right are: Mr Jeffrey Siow, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Enterprise Singapore; Mr John Snook, Chief Executive, WITT; Ms Low Yen Ling, Singapore's Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth; Dr Cristiano Marantes, Chief Executive, Ara Ake; Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU Senior Vice President (Research); Mr Mahesh Kumar, Programme Director, Ecolabs Centre of Innovation for Energy.

An energy innovation testbed will be established in New Zealand, providing a hub for the demonstration of new technology that could help lower emissions.

New Zealand’s Future Energy Centre, Ara Ake, has facilitated a partnership between Ecolabs – a joint initiative by the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), Enterprise Singapore, and Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore – and the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT).

The project aims to successfully demonstrate emissions lowering energy innovation – from Singapore and New Zealand – to help with the decarbonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Ara Ake Chief Executive, Dr Cristiano Marantes, says the project highlights the significance of global collaboration to make New Zealand’s decarbonisation journey a successful one. 

“This is an exciting opportunity to gain expertise from global innovators and share leading international technology to not only help WITT reach its low emissions energy aspirations, but drive innovation and the development and commercialisation of energy solutions across the nation,” says Dr Marantes.

Ecolabs has proven success in developing and deploying testbeds across the Asia Pacific region and Ara Ake is pleased to have secured a demonstration site in New Zealand and be coordinating these initiatives that have national significance.

Energy and Resources Minister, Hon Dr Megan Woods, says of the project “Accelerating the decarbonisation of our energy system, supporting our energy innovators, and driving innovation through global collaboration is a key focus of this government, especially as we continue our economic recovery from Covid-19. It’s good to see the Government funded Ara Ake helping prepare us for the future with this exciting project.”

The project is using two of WITT’s current buildings – one they will assign as the testbed, and the other as the controlled variable – to implement the innovative energy solutions. It will provide real-world technology exposure to potential and existing students in New Zealand, developing the next generation of vocational training.

WITT is one of 17 subsidiaries of Te Pūkenga, which is bringing together a national network of integrated learning that supports learners, employers and communities to gain the skills, knowledge and capabilities that Aotearoa New Zealand needs for now and in the future.

Te Pūkenga is developing a sustainability strategy with a mission that aims to embed sustainability over all subsidiaries within the network, covering institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) and the work based learning (WBL) divison. This WITT testbed project is an opportunity that could be replicated across a number of the institutes, significantly contributing to their sustainability goals.

WITT Chief Executive, John Snook, says the testbed project will play an important role in both meeting WITT’s carbon neutrality target by 2025, while supporting Taranaki as an energy innovation hub.

“As WITT aims to develop an Energy Centre of Excellence (ECoE), this is a great opportunity to showcase real-world emissions lowering energy innovation that will have a demonstrable improvement to WITT’s carbon footprint and help tackle the challenge of climate change. We hope this inspires students to consider staying in, or moving to, Taranaki, and consider new energy as a career option,” says Mr Snook.

Te Pūkenga Chief Executive, Stephen Town, hopes the project will inspire future learners to the new energy sector.

“This testbed will demonstrate to future learners what new energy looks like, and we hope to build on ideas from around the world, and adopt and scale the model to our other tertiary providers across the nation along with the increased uptake of innovative energy solutions,” says Mr Town.

NTU Senior Vice President (Research) Professor Lam Khin Yong says, “NTU Singapore’s partnership with Ara Ake and WITT is a strong example of an international co-innovation programme that will serve as a net zero carbon launchpad for Singapore and New Zealand cleantech start-ups to collaborate with each other through the deployment of novel solutions at real-world testbed sites.

“The partnership is aligned with Singapore’s Green Plan to halve its 2030 peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as well as the University’s Sustainability Manifesto which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. We look forward to this collaboration which will contribute towards a greener future for all,” concludes Professor Lam.

The next step for the project is to undertake the innovation search, which will determine what  emissions lowering technologies will be deployed.

Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki

WITT is the largest tertiary education institution in the province of Taranaki, New Zealand. The institute has two campuses around Taranaki; the main campus is situated in New Plymouth, and the other is located in Hāwera.

Te Pūkenga

In 2020, Te Pūkenga was established to better meet the needs of learners and employers through the creation of a national network of regionally-accessible vocational and applied learning organisations. By 1 January 2023, Te Pūkenga will provide a cohesive system of on-the-job, on-campus and online learning. WITT is a part of Te Pūkenga.


EcoLabs Centre of Innovation for Energy, Singapore

EcoLabs Centre of Innovation for Energy, a joint initiative by the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Enterprise Singapore, and Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS), is an innovation cluster for clean energy with access to the world’s leading researchers in sustainability.

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, established jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute and Energy Research Institute @ NTU.

Ranked amongst the world’s top universities by QS, NTU has also been named the world’s top young university for the past seven years. The University’s main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and it has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) building projects, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a campus in Singapore’s healthcare district.

Under the NTU Smart Campus vision, the University harnesses the power of digital technology and tech-enabled solutions to support better learning and living experiences, the discovery of new knowledge, and the sustainability of resources.