Singapore Frontier Challenge 2017
Singapore Frontier (SFC) Challenge 2017 concluded successfully on 30 September. The finale was held at Singapore Power (SP) Group headquarters and showcased the work of the top five finalist teams.
The competition focused on alternative energy solutions, specifically solutions for transmission, storage or production of alternative energy.
SFC 2017 was spearheaded by the NUS Physics Society, with the organising committee comprising students from diverse backgrounds and majors. The inaugural competition aimed to involve tertiary students from diverse disciplines by encouraging them to develop innovative solutions to pressing environmental issues faced by Singapore. The competition drew participants from NUS, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
Singapore Frontier Challenge 2017 Organising Committee (From left to right) Neo Jie Xin, Tricia Wong, Lai Ming Rui (SFC 2017 Project Director), Gabriel Kam, Shin Zher Sin and, Ryan Quek
Emphasising the interdisciplinary aspect, SFC 2017 encouraged participating students to form groups with other majors to generate greater diversity of ideas. The Faculty’s Team SAVEZ was amongst the finalists. Team SAVEZ comprised three Physics students SEAH Zong Long, KOH Jun Hao and CHAN Si Min and two students from the Faculty of Engineering, Ernst CHEOK and UDAYAGIRI Vishnu Saran.
Drawing inspiration from photosynthesis where plants convert sunlight into useful energy organically and sustainably, Team SAVEZ developed a solar cell fabric and a three-dimensional (3D) transparent solar cell under the guidance of Dr TAN Swee Ching, Assistant Professor, NUS Department of Materials Science and Engineering; and Mr WANG Aimin, Team Mentor, SP Group. Their innovation impressed the panel of judges during the finale, and was awarded a second runners-up placing.
Team SAVEZ at the debate knockout stage
Team SAVEZ emerged 2nd runner-up at the finale (From left to right) Mr Wong Kim Yin, CEO, SP Group; Koh Jun Hao (Physics); Seah Zong Long (Physics); Ernst Cheok (Engineering); Chan Si Min (Physics); Udayagiri Vishnu Saran (Engineering); and Mr Wang Aimin, Team Mentor, SP Group
The various teams’ renewable energy projects, ranging from protein-based solar cells to rainwater harvesters, was well-received by the panel of judges, which included SP Group’s CEO Mr WONG Kim Yin, their senior management, as well as two NUS Faculty of Science academic staff - Dr YEO Ye, Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics and Dr LIU Mei Hui, Assistant Dean, Student Life.
The top five teams emerging from the debate knockout stage in August 2017 were each assigned a mentor from SP Group, comprising engineers and experts who shared relevant industry experience and guided them by providing resources and proposing improvements during prototyping. In addition to technical knowledge, the SP Group mentors also coached their respective teams on presentation and pitching skills. The finalist teams did not disappoint, and delivered wonderful prototypes and presentations during the finale.
Participants also attended energy-related talks and workshops, such as 3D printing, using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to design mechanical parts, as well as understanding Arduino, an open-source electronics platform which creates prototypes.
The SP Group granted $23,000 in sponsorships to support the competition. Months of hard work went in to planning the three-month competition to ensure that the event ran smoothly.
One of the key takeaways from the competition for all participants was the opportunity to mingle with SP Group staff and to benefit from their industry expertise. Mr WONG Kim Yin, CEO of SP Group, also personally discussed the potential of the ideas and advised each team on the possibility of a collaboration with SP Group to further develop their projects.
LAI MingRui, Year 3 Physics student and SFC 2017 Project Director, said, “We hope that through the competition, more students will take an interest in issues faced by Singapore in the present, and in the years to come.”
Singapore Frontier Challenge 2017’s first contact event on 17 June
Participants attended various software and hardware workshops held in conjunction with the competition