Singapore’s Tuas Desalination Plant (TDP) – the first desalination plant that is owned and operated by PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, has won international recognition for its use of ecologically sustainable technologies in the treatment process. Barely a year after it was opened in June 2018, TDP was named Desalination Plant of the Year at the 2019 Global Water Awards, presented at the Global Water Summit in London, United Kingdom.
The Global Water Awards (GWA), widely acknowledged as one of the most coveted awards, recognise the most important achievements in the international water industry which include improved operating performance, innovative technology adoption and sustainable financial models. The three other shortlisted nominees in the Desalination Plant of the Year category were namely, Barka 4 IWP in Oman, Djerba in Tunisia, and Galalah in Egypt.
TDP marks a major milestone in Singapore’s water sustainability journey. As Singapore’s third desalination plant, the S$217 million (US$153 million) facility is the country’s most technologically advanced plant, setting new industry benchmarks for its robust pre-treatment processes, reliance on clean energy, housed in a compact 3.5-hectare facility.
Use of advanced technologies to optimise operations, space and energy
TDP boasts of many firsts. It is the first plant in Singapore to combine Dissolved Air Flotation and Ultrafiltration, to reduce membrane fouling during the treatment of seawater. This ensures higher quality of sea water for the reverse osmosis process and reduces the cleaning frequency of the membranes to optimise cost and operating efficiencies.
Another first for TDP is its pursuit of clean energy. To reduce its carbon footprint, more than half of TDP’s roof surface, or 7,000sqm, is covered with solar photovoltaic system. This generates some 1.4 million kWh of clean energy a year, equivalent to the energy needs of more than 300 four-room flats a year, to power part of the plant’s energy needs.
As the most compact and most space-efficient desalination plant in Singapore, TDP produces up to 30 million gallons a day of drinking water, equivalent to the water demand of about 200,000 households.
“Seawater desalination has a starring role in Singapore’s water future. And PUB’s Tuas Desalination Plant provides a glimpse of just how exciting this future is. Jam-packed with the latest treatment technologies on a very small footprint, it is not just space-efficient, and also a fruition of PUB’s relentless R&D over the last few years. We are proud that the plant has been recognised by our peers, and even prouder that it is providing Singapore with high quality drinking water and enduring water security every day”, said Mr Ng Joo Hee, Chief Executive, PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency.
“We’d like to congratulate this year’s Global Water Awards winners, who exemplify the kinds of positive change and disruption that will continue to drive the international water sector to greater heights in the coming years. Tuas Desalination Plant, the winner of the Desalination Plant of the Year, sets a new ecological benchmark and puts the PUB at the forefront of desalination plant development for decades to come in the region,” said Mr Christopher Gasson, Publisher of Global Water Intelligence, which established the awards in 2006.
Sharing TDP’s pride is inge GmbH, having been a part of the project as an ultrafiltration supplier for pre-treatment in order to prevent membrane fouling, thus helping to double the lifespan of RO membranes. This reference project in South East Asia reinforces inge GmbH’s firm belief that water treatment with In-to-Out ultrafiltration is a superbly reliable, cost-effective, and highly promising technology in many areas, especially in the field of drinking water.