We wish Singapore RAS a warm welcome as a Start-up member of NBAS. Singapore RAS has a company history that goes back to 2008. However, in 2020 they relaunched as the more sustainable Singapore RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System). We spoke to CEO Esben Johnsen about the company, their vision and Johnsen’s relationship to South East Asia and Singapore.
Drawn to South East Asia
Esben has a long history with South East Asia in general and Singapore in particular. Esben’s first experience in the region was in the very early 90’s in Sarawak, with jungle trips and cave visits in between water skiing and the occasional O&G work over a 3-years period. Later in the 90’s, Esben returned for a similar experience. After Sarawak, Esben went to Oman for a couple of years, followed by a longer stay in Thailand. In 2003, he moved to Singapore with his family, and the red dot has more or less been his base ever since.
Singapore RAS’ main Focus
Singapore RAS’s sole focus since the kick-off in early 2020 has been on the maturation and development of a Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) for Atlantic Salmon. The target market is Singapore. The actual production location was initially not fixed, but upon a detailed risk-reward evaluation of alternative locations in the SIJORI Growth Triangle, they concluded on setting up the production facility in Singapore.In the current solution, Singapore RAS embeds industry learnings from similar commercially projects in northern Europe. As a result, the project design capacity is 1,000 t/a, with an expansion path to 3,000 t/a.
Built on sustainable principles
The Atlantic salmon RAS-project is being developed with a strong focus on sustainability, and circular economy in general. Minimization of CO2, land use and water waste, together with optimisation of energy footprints are major project drivers. With the proactive and supportive help from Innovation Norway, the company is connecting with Singaporean and Norwegian research and educational institutions to cooperate and drive research within these fields.
Establishing a network of partners and suppliers
“We are now in the process of widespread stakeholder engagement, and as of today we have established a series MOUs and stronger agreements with future suppliers and partners.” Esben says. The company is engaged with a wide range of Singaporean government organisations all of which are expected to be important stakeholders going forward. For instance, in relation to land location, import of eggs, pharma services and products, feed, as well as training and more general R&D cooperation and programs.
The ultimate aim
Company management has a solid track-record of deploying and embedding new technological solutions and new organisations globally. The aim is to develop Singapore RAS beyond just a successful commercial venture, into a regional centre for knowledge and RAS applications in South-East-Asia.“As part of this vision, we have budget allocations for multi-year PhD programs within the domain of ‘Atlantic Salmon RAS in a tropical environment’ and detailed design priorities towards embedding paths for subsequent test bedding of new RAS solutions and new cold-water species.”, Esben adds.The latter elements are in the early phases of engagement with research institutes in Singapore (NTU) and Norway (NTNU). Learn more about Singapore RAS and their project here.