Enexor BioEnergy, a manufacturer of renewable energy and carbon conversion solutions in the United States, and Singapore-based TRIA, a sustainable and innovative foodware company, have emerged as the winners of the inaugural OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge. Between 4th quarter 2022 and 1st quarter 2023, they will begin piloting their winning solutions with SATS Ltd. (SATS), Asia's leading provider of food solutions and gateway services, with a view to eventually scaling these solutions across its network of operations. Each winner will receive up to S$80,000 pilot funding from OCBC Bank.
An initiative under the Innovation and Technology pillar of the Bank's climate strategy, the OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge was launched in June 2022 to identify sustainability-related challenges faced by its corporate customers, and source for solutions from around the world that can be commercialised. This year marked the inaugural edition of the Challenge with SATS being the first Challenge Owner. Almost 100 companies and start-ups from 24 countries submitted applications in response to these two challenge statements:
How to turn waste into energy or other by-products of value
How to create circularity of consumer products
Enexor BioEnergy was the winner for challenge statement 1, with their pitch to install their proprietary Bio-CHP™ system - an organic waste-fuelled micro-turbine - to treat onsite waste, including plastics and biomass at SATS' catering operations in Singapore. The solution would convert organic and plastic waste into renewable electricity generation and thermal energy. The pilot process is expected to begin in Q1 2023, with the Bio-CHP™ system expected to be operational by Q4 2023. The funding of up to S$80,000 from OCBC Bank is expected to go towards pilot design and implementation, including site assessments, permitting, carbon credit validation and verification efforts, and feedstock testing and feasibility studies.
TRIA emerged as the winner for challenge statement 2 with their closed-loop catering solution. Once stained, food packaging is difficult to recycle, but TRIA's pilot will see it recycling both the packaging and food scraps - with no segregation needed. The funding of up to S$80,000 from OCBC Bank will go towards TRIA's development of packaging using TRIA's proprietary NEUTRIA® technology, and the fabrication of a Rapid Depolymerisation Module which will treat food and packaging waste, enabling it to be transformed into fertiliser and energy. The pilot is estimated to last for eight months, beginning in Q4 2022. At the end of the pilot, an evaluation will be done together with SATS, with the possibility of replicating the solution across SATS' network of operations using a plug-and-play model.
These two winners emerged from a field of 8 finalists, who pitched their solutions to a panel of judges from SATS, OCBC Bank, Singapore's National Environment Agency and Nanyang Technological University on 6 October 2022.
Mr. Spencer Low, Chief Data and Sustainability Officer at SATS and one of the judges, said, "Congratulations to Enexor BioEnergy and TRIA for showcasing the most compelling and scalable waste management solutions. It was truly heartening to witness the passion and dedication of the participants towards protecting people and planet. As SATS expands our geographic reach, we remain committed to replicating our Sustainability initiatives globally to deliver greater community impact. Working collaboratively with the winning teams and OCBC Bank, the SATS team is eager to test the innovative solutions in our real-life operations. Our customers look to us as a strategic partner, and we will do our utmost to treat waste in the right manner and meet our goal of halving food waste intensity by 2028."
Mr. Mike Ng, Head of Global Wholesale Banking Sustainability Office, OCBC Bank, who was also on the panel of judges, said, "There are many innovative ideas out there that can be developed and commercialised. Quite often, these ideas just need a little nudge to get them off the ground, and they may not necessarily require a lot of capital. With this initial funding from the OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge, TRIA and Enexor BioEnergy will be able to pilot their solutions in a real-world setting with SATS, and contribute further to SATS' objective of sustainable food waste management. We look forward to future editions of the OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge which could see us identifying and addressing challenges and problem statements in different industries with our other corporate customers. As we support our customers along their sustainability journey, we will in turn drive OCBC's own progress towards the decarbonisation of our lending and investment portfolios, hence it is a win-win for our customers, ourselves, and the environment."
OCBC Bank will consider providing further support, including additional financing, for the commercialisation of the most promising solutions beyond the initial testbed provided by this challenge. By doing so, the Bank aims to accelerate the agri-food industry's shift to more sustainable practices, including the adoption of circular economy practices to reduce or better manage waste.
Please refer to the appendix for more quotes from the judges and winners, and for more information on the 8 finalists.
For more information, please visit www.ocbc.com.
Professor William Chen, Director of Singapore Agri-food Innovation Lab (SAIL) and also Director of NTU's Food Science and Technology (FST): "It was very heartening to see the high standard of the submissions that we received from the OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge, especially given the magnitude of the food waste problem in the world today. To reduce and repurpose food and packaging waste into usable and environmentally sustainable materials, we have seen exciting proposals among all the finalists on the innovative uses of technology platforms such as fermentation, manufacturing, and combined heat & power. Many of the proposed solutions are very impressive and well aligned with the problem statement which is to solve the very practical issues highlighted by SATS. Enexor Bioenergy and TRIA, in particular, stood out as winners based on the high efficiency and scalability of their technologies. I look forward to seeing the successful development of their pilot with SATS."
Mr Lee Jestings, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Enexor BioEnergy: "Enexor BioEnergy is honored to have won the OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge 2022. We are excited to partner with SATS and OCBC on their mission of building a more sustainable future by converting their organic and plastic waste streams at Changi Airport into onsite affordable renewable energy to power their operations, and save them money on their operating costs all while lowering their carbon and plastic footprint. We hope to use this pilot as a case study in our efforts to bring our innovative renewable energy systems across Asia to help solve waste problems and increase access to affordable renewable energy."
Mr Lin Qing Yao, Close-The-Loop-Manager, TRIA: "The OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge was a great opportunity for a Singapore enterprise like TRIA to showcase our unique packaging organic recycling solution to the world. TRIA was started with a vision to make an impactful and positive change to our environment. By empowering brands like KFC Singapore, events including the recent Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, to close the loop of foodware and food waste, we are able to make that contribution. We are extremely excited to be selected as the winner through this challenge and cannot wait to embark on the pilot with another one of the big boys - SATS."