PUB on global hunt for zero-emissions solutions with $6.5m in prize money

Two floating solar farms at Bedok and Lower Seletar Reservoir have commenced operations.
Two floating solar farms at Bedok and Lower Seletar Reservoir have commenced operations.PHOTO: NATIONAL WATER AGENCY PUB

SINGAPORE - National water agency PUB is offering a total of $6.5 million in prize money to those who come up with solutions to remove carbon emissions from its water treatment facilities.

Launched on Tuesday (Oct 19), the Carbon Zero Grand Challenge is seeking carbon capture, utilisation and storage and removal solutions from around the globe, including from innovators outside the water sector.

Participants should aim to create innovative solutions to help PUB achieve its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Solutions can be at any technology level but should integrate with PUB's operations and reach commercial scale within a decade or sooner.

Proposals can be submitted from now till Feb 24 next year.

Ms Chong Mien Ling, PUB's chief sustainability officer, said: "Through this open innovation challenge, we are inviting researchers and companies from around the world to co-create carbon sequestration and utilisation technologies that can be integrated with PUB's operations.

"We hope to see game-changing solutions that can meet the operational needs of water utilities, while at the same time (are) capable of reducing carbon emissions."

This is on top of PUB's current suite of initiatives and research that it is actively pursuing to reduce its carbon footprint.

The agency said on Tuesday that it has a three-pronged strategy to close the carbon loop: replacing, reducing and removing.

Carbon-based energy sources have been replaced with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems deployed on facility rooftops and reservoirs over the years.

Along with the use of new technologies to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy required for water treatment processes, PUB expects to abate 60 per cent of total emissions by 2050.

Two floating solar farms, at Bedok Reservoir and Lower Seletar Reservoir, have commenced operations.

Harvesting solar power from both its land-based installations and floating solar PV systems can offset 8 per cent of PUB's annual energy needs.


PUB's first batch of EVs will be deployed from Nov 2021. PHOTO: NATIONAL WATER AGENCY PUB

PUB has been working with research institutes to develop next-generation membranes that can substantially reduce the energy required to produce Newater by 50 per cent or more.

Its diesel-powered vehicles are being progressively replaced with electric ones to reduce energy consumption and emissions. The first batch of six electric vehicles will be deployed from next month.