Sembcorp Industries, Singapore's energy and water solutions giant, will turn its water treatment facilities across China into testing laboratories for new water technologies.
The company announced the move to grant third-party providers access to its facilities at a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday for the Nanjing International Water Hub (NIWH) on the Sino-Singapore Nanjing Eco Hi-Tech Island (SNEI) in coastal Jiangsu province.
Targeted for completion in 2018, the new 34,184 sq m water hub in Nanjing city will house a Water Technology Innovation Centre that supports the incubation of promising water technologies and the performance testing of late-stage technologies in clinical settings.
Speaking at the event, Sembcorp group chief executive and president Tang Kin Fei said Sembcorp is opening up its water facilities in China as an incentive for resident firms at the Nanjing water hub to test their technologies, especially those closer to commercial application.
The mainboard-listed company could benefit by getting the first bite at the new water technologies tested at its facilities.
It now runs 16 water facilities in 10 Chinese provinces, handling a total daily capacity of 2.295 million cubic metres. Its key services include ensuring industrial wastewater meets discharge standards and reclaiming wastewater for reuse purposes.
Last year, Sembcorp partnered Singapore's Economic Development Board in allowing third-party companies to test their technology at Sembcorp's wastewater treatment plant on Jurong Island.
"As a global water and energy company with a rich history of being technology and innovation driven, we hope to support the long-term growth of the water sector through these efforts," said Mr Tang yesterday.
Also at the event yesterday were Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck, Sembcorp chairman Ang Kong Hua, Nanjing executive vice-mayor Liu Yi'an and Singapore's Consul-General in Shanghai Loh Tuck Wai.
Mr Teo, who was deputy co-chairman of the Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council until this January, said he hoped the NIWH will also help speed up development of the SNEI, a 15.21 sq km island located in the middle of the Yangtze River. The project was launched in 2009 and is located in Nanjing's new central business district.
The NIWH also inked two separate memorandums of understanding yesterday with national water agency PUB and the National University of Singapore's Centre for Water Research to help Singapore's small and medium-sized enterprises bring new water technologies and solutions into China.
The PUB will set up an office at the NIWH that will also hold seminars and talks to share Singapore's water management experiences, and help Chinese water companies break into Singapore and Asean markets.
Dr Daniel Wong, general manager of the NIWH, said it is also in talks with several reputable foreign and Chinese research institutions to set up similar platforms.
A third MOU was signed between NIWH and Sembcorp's wholly owned subsidiary, Sembcorp (China) Holding, to explore the development of the Sembcorp Global Asset Management System.
Using advanced data analytics, the system will allow Sembcorp to optimise its China operations from a central location at the NIWH.
Mr Tang said the system, if successfully implemented, could be expanded to manage Sembcorp's global operations too.