PUB looks to drive innovation for water sustainability

Singapore’s water needs have spurred many innovative solutions, and research and development (R&D) has been the key to achieving a robust and sustainable water supply. In continuing to cultivate R&D, Singapore’s National Water Agency, PUB, has launched three Requests for Proposals (RFPs)) to invite industry technology providers and researcher to develop solutions that will improve the effectiveness of water treatment processes and operations, as well as ensure water sustainability.

Water demand is expected to double by 2060, with the non-domestic sector making up 70 per cent of the demand then. More energy-intensive sources such as NEWater and desalinated water will meet up to 85 per cent of Singapore’s water needs by then, it is important to maximise water efficiency and lower energy use in water and used water treatment.

“Investing in R&D is important for PUB to develop innovative water solutions that can improve the efficiency of water treatment and keep our water supply sustainable,” 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.”

The first RPF 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, and involves exploring water channels or transporters that use very low energy, such s aquaporins derived from specific species of microorganism, fish and mangrove plants, and synthetic channels, for incorporation into biomimetic membranes.

For used water treatment, the RFP targets the realisation of 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 RPF looks at enhancing operational efficiency by leveraging on smart technologies such as robotics, drones, automation, data analytics and informatics, as well as video analytics in order to minimise the manpower required in operations and maintenance.