PUB sets aside up to $30m for water treatment solutions

National water agency PUB has launched three requests for proposals (RFPs) on water treatment solutions, setting aside up to $30 million for them.

Announcing this yesterday, it invited 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.

The agency 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 PUB.

Mr Harry Seah, PUB's assistant chief executive (future systems and technology), said: "Through continuous research and development 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."

The three RFPs are part of the Government's Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan. Water was identified as a key growth industry back in 2006.

The first RFP, which has two parts, targets technologies in enhancing the energy efficiency of the water and used-water treatment process.

In Part 1 covering water treatment, the aim is to reduce the energy consumption of desalination and Newater through biomimicry. This involves looking at water channels or transporters that use very low energy, such as biomolecules derived from micro-organisms, fish and mangrove plants, as well as man-made channels, to be used in membranes for water treatment.

For used-water treatment covered in Part 2, it seeks to develop energy self-sufficient water reclamation plants. 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.

The third RFP looks at improving operational efficiency by making use of smart technologies - such as robotics, drones, automation, data analytics and informatics, and video analytics - to minimise manpower needed in operations and maintenance.

Interested companies can also find out more at an information session to be held on Jan 26.

Ann Williams

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2018, with the headline 'PUB sets aside up to $30m for water treatment solutions'. Print Edition | Subscribe