WHEN food or organic waste breaks down, the gas methane, which can power electricity generators, is released.

But with the Singapore diet typically rich in grease and meat, this gas is not being as efficiently produced.

To get around this, local waste-management firm IUT Global has hooked up with Nanyang Technological University researchers to find more efficient ways to produce this valuable gas.

For this effort to develop sustainable-energy technology here, IUT has been picked as one of five companies to receive funding from the Energy Market Authority (EMA) for its research.

The other four projects which also won funding, selected from a pool of 88 proposals, aim to build:

-A virtual power plant to tap the excess capacity of industrial factories;

-A better battery system for electric vehicles;

-More efficient motors for air-conditioners and cranes; and

-Security systems for 'smart' power-grids.

To get these off the ground, the EMA has set aside up to $10 million under its Smart Energy Challenge programme,unveiled last year during Singapore International Energy Week, a conference and exhibition for energy issues and technologies. The money comes from its $25 million Energy Research Development fund, set up to broaden Singapore's array of energy sources, cut down on energy intensity and develop the industry.

Recycling wins funding