TCOMS opens ocean basin facility to strengthen research and development capabilities for future ocean systems and solutions

Singapore’s first ocean basin facility officially opened on 26 July 2022 at the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS). The ocean basin allows for simulations of real-world operating environments in deep, intermediate, and shallow waters. This capability allows the facility to co-create, stress test and validate solutions as well as novel concepts of future ocean systems and infrastructure, with industry partners. Mr Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security officiated at the opening of the ocean basin.

Launched in 2016, TCOMS is a national Research and Development (R&D) centre dedicated to the Marine & Offshore Engineering, Maritime and other ocean-related industries. It is a joint venture between the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

TCOMS plays an important role in supporting the transformations of the Marine & Offshore Engineering, Maritime and Ocean-related marine & offshore industries, as well as to support national priorities such as maritime security and coastal adaptation to climate change.

Located in NUS, the next-generation ocean basin facility is equipped with wave and current generation systems, a towing carriage and a movable floor to simulate challenging ocean environments that offshore platforms, ships and underwater systems operate in. The water depth of 50 metres in the centre pit is currently one of the deepest in the world, allowing simulations of operating environments in ultra-deepwater.

TCOMS also continually builds advanced capabilities such as cyber-physical modelling and simulation, involving smart sensing, data analytics and real-time data assimilation. These capabilities are developed and supported by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and engineers with domain expertise in engineering, ocean sciences and naval architecture.

Industry players are already working closely with TCOMS on projects that range from smart offshore systems, autonomous and remotely-operated vessels, marine robotics to nearshore infrastructure. These companies span Large Local Enterprises, Small and Medium Enterprises and Multi-National Corporations, including technology service providers and classification societies.

“The TCOMS triple-helix collaboration between academia, public sector and industry enables co-innovating of solutions for the Marine & Offshore Engineering, Maritime and other ocean-related sectors. TCOMS also performs a pivotal role in nurturing science and technology talent for the aforementioned industries. Working with TCOMS, companies can capture new market opportunities in the region and beyond,” said Mr Frederick Chew, CEO of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

“The commissioning of the state-of-the-art ocean basin facility is a significant milestone for TCOMS. Based at NUS, TCOMS will create fresh opportunities for high impact engineering research and initiatives in areas beyond the Marine & Offshore Engineering sector, such as protection against coastal flooding brought about by climate change and rising sea levels. TCOMS will also develop capabilities to integrate ocean-atmosphere, coastal waves and tidal-current models with engineering solutions to address the vulnerabilities of low-lying coastal areas like Singapore. We are confident that TCOMS will create innovative solutions by combining interdisciplinary research expertise in NUS and across the universities, as well as A*STAR and industry partners, to address our national imperatives as well as support the growth of new industry sectors in Singapore,” said Professor Tan Eng Chye, President of the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Professor Chan Eng Soon, CEO of TCOMS said, “This opening marks the official start of TCOMS’s journey in basin simulation and testing, using the cutting-edge capabilities that have been developed in-house by our researchers. With its unique combination of physical-numerical modelling and simulation capabilities, TCOMS is also well placed to do its part in nurturing our younger generation with the necessary skillsets and expertise to lead the sector to greater heights. We therefore welcome our stakeholders to use the facility as a platform for knowledge creation, training, upskilling and lifelong learning.”

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