PUB launches 3 requests for proposals for solutions to boost water treatment

Workers inspecting reverse osmosis trains at Singapore's fifth NEWater plant in Changi on Jan 16, 2017.
Workers inspecting reverse osmosis trains at Singapore's fifth NEWater plant in Changi on Jan 16, 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - PUB has launched three requests for proposals (RFPs) to invite industry technology providers and researchers to develop solutions that will improve the effectiveness of Singapore's water treatment processes and operations, and ensure water sustainability.

Announcing this on Monday (Jan 15), PUB said water demand is expected to double by 2060, with the non-domestic sector expected to make up 70 per cent of demand then.

While more energy-intensive sources such as NEWater and desalinated water will meet up to 85 per cent of Singapore's water needs by 2020, it is important to maximise water efficiency and lower energy use in water and used water treatment, said the agency.

Mr Harry Seah, PUB's assistant chief executive (future systems and technology), said: "Through continuous R&D over the years, we have identified several promising technologies. We want to work with technology providers and researchers to develop these technologies further and demonstrate their commercial viability."

PUB added that S$30 million has been allocated for the 3 RFPs, which are part of the Government's Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan. Water was identified as a key growth industry back in 2006.

PUB is inviting companies that can bring their proposed water technology to market to submit their proposals. Institutes of higher learning and research institutes can also collaborate with an industrial partner to accelerate the commercialisation/translation of their project and submit a joint proposal.

The first RFP targets specific technologies in enhancing energy efficiency of the water and used water treatment process.

For water treatment, it aims to reduce the energy consumption of desalination and NEWater through biomimicry. This involves exploring water channels or transporters that use very low energy, such as aquaporins derived from specific species of micro-organism, fish and mangrove plants, as well as synthetic channels, for incorporation into biomimetic membranes.

For used water treatment, the first RFP targets to achieve energy self-sufficient water reclamation plants through anaerobic membrane bioreactors incorporating the anammox process, and/or other innovative nutrients removal/recovery process. This aims to minimise the energy needed to treat used water and recover more energy from the process, such that used water treatment uses only as much energy as it generates.

The second RFP aims to enhance water efficiency in industries through water recycling or reducing water consumption. Proposals are to be submitted by the industrial or commercial host, in collaboration with an identified technology provider.

The third RFP looks at enhancing operational efficiency by leveraging on smart technologies such as robotics, drones, automation, data analytics and informatics, and video analytics, to minimise manpower required in operations and maintenance.

Companies interested in the RFPs can also find out more at an information session to be held on Jan 26.