PUB tests ceramic membrane technology

Dickson Li Business Times 1 Jul 11;

THE Public Utilities Board (PUB) yesterday launched a $5 million ceramic membrane demonstration plant at its Choa Chu Kang Waterworks.

The new ceramic membrane lasts four times longer than the current polymeric membranes. 'Although the cost of ceramic membranes is higher . . . it has a much longer lifespan of 15-20 years,' said Harry Seah, director of PUB's technology & quality water office.

PUB selected PWN Technologies (PWNT) of the Netherlands to build the plant, which has a daily capacity of 1.2 million litres. It will go through an 18-month trial, at the end of which PUB will evaluate the practicality of implementing this technology.

'The real advantage is on the operational costs. With a long lifetime on the membrane, you don't have to change it as often,' said Jonathan Clement, director of technology application at PWNT. 'With added, efficiency, we keep operating costs low, and this translates into less pressure to increase prices of water,' added Mr Seah.

Adopting the new technology will also mean cleaner water. Using the ceramic membrane, ozone can be added into the system - something which cannot be done with the polymeric membrane.

To support this plant, PWNT will be given a grant under the Technology Pioneer Scheme, from the Environment & Water Industry Programme Office.

PUB trial may lead to cheaper water prices
Tests being done on longer-lasting, tougher material for filtering process
Feng Zengkun Straits Times 1 Jul 11;

A NEW water-treatment method being tested floats the promise of keeping water prices affordable for consumers in the long run.

A trial plant, sited at national water agency PUB's Choa Chu Kang water- treatment facility, uses a new material that is expected to last at least 20 years - more than four times the lifespan of the polymeric membranes being used now.

The new material for sieving out impurities can also process up to 10 times more water, withstand more pressure, and be cleaned with a wider range of chemicals.

If the trial proves successful, it would mean that the cost of producing water could become cheaper and water prices could remain low in Singapore, said Mr Harry Seah, director of technology and water quality at PUB.

The $5 million trial, a collaboration with Dutch water firm PWN Technologies, is expected to last until 2013.

It involves a new type of ceramic membrane that was tested on a smaller scale here between 2007 and 2009.

The current trial is to assess whether the material is cost-effective on a larger scale and make sure the water quality matches that yielded now by treatment plants.

The rate for water is $1.52 per 1,000 litres, if consumption is less than 40,000 litres per month.

On average, each person uses 154 litres of water a day. This comes from recycled seawater and rainwater, Newater and water imported from Malaysia.

The new treatment method will be able to produce water for both industrial and household uses.

Mr Jonathan Clement, PWNT's director of technology application, said the new material has been used in other industries, such as chemical processing and pulp and paper.

Until recently, the cost of using it in water treatment was too expensive.

'It was only in the last few years that we discovered how to put the membranes together so that installing them is as cheap as installing the polymeric membranes,' he said.

The trial plant is expected to process up to 1.2 million litres of water a day, enough to supply the needs of 8,000 residents.

Raw water will be drawn from Kranji and Pandan reservoirs, and reservoirs such as Tengeh, Poyan, Murai and Sarimbun in the western catchment area.

Mr Seah said the plant will be put through its paces processing water of varying purity. The processed water will be tested and recycled through the other treatment plants in the Choa Chu Kang facility to avoid wastage.

If the trial is successful, PUB will consider replacing the membranes in treatment plants with the new material.

The project is funded by the Environment and Water Industry Programme Office, set up in 2006 with a fund of $330 million to support research and development efforts over five years.

The new membrane will also be showcased at next week's fourth annual Singapore International Water Week.

Singapore explores new technology to treat drinking water
Lim Jing Jing Channel NewsAsia 30 Jun 11;

SINGAPORE: A new technology is being tested for its potential to treat drinking water in Singapore.

A S$5 million water treatment plant, which will use ceramic membrane technology to treat drinking water, has been built at the Choa Chu Kang Waterworks after two years of planning.

The "demonstration plant" is funded by a grant from the Environment and Water Industry Programme Office under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

Raw water will be drawn from the Kranji, Pandan and reservoirs in the western catchment area, which includes the Tengah, Poyan, Murai and Sarimbun Reservoirs.

The plant is able to treat 1.2 million litres of water a day. Its performance will be tested over 18 months.

Untreated water in Singapore is currently filtered through polymeric membranes.

The ceramic membrane has a projected lifespan of 20 years, four times longer than the polymeric membrane.

The initial cost of building a ceramic treatment plant is higher but potential savings come in the long term, largely due to the durability of the ceramic membrane.

As a result, PUB said that ozone can also be added to disinfect water.

According to PWN Technologies, which built the plant, its ceramic membrane technology also has a lower energy consumption compared to conventional treatment methods.

This could mean cheaper or more readily available drinking water in Singapore as the population grows, even while the world's supply of potable water shrinks.

- CNA/fa

New technology could mean cheaper water for consumers
Lim Jing Jing Today Online 1 Jul 11;

SINGAPORE - A S$5 million trial which is currently underway could result in cheaper water for consumers.

National water agency Public Utilities Board (PUB) said yesterday that it has built a water treatment plant in Choa Chu Kang to test the use of a new ceramic membrane technology.

The trial, a collaboration with Dutch water firm PWN Technologies, is expected to last for 18 months.

According to the PUB, ceramic membranes last about 20 years, four times longer than the current polymeric membranes - thus resulting in a lower cost of producing water should the trial be successful.

The new material for sieving out impurities can also process up to 10 times more water, withstand more pressure and be cleaned with a wider range of chemicals.

The treatment plant, which is funded by Singapore's Environment and Water Industry Programme Office, is able to treat 1.2 million litres of water a day, about half the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

PWN Technologies said this is the first time their technology is being used in a pilot facility outside the Netherlands.

Raw water will be drawn into the ceramic membrane plant from the Kranji and Pandan reservoirs in the western catchment areas, which includes the Tengeh, Poyan, Murai and Sarimbun reservoirs.

For the first three months, water treated using ceramic membrane technology will be mixed back into raw water. After that, if the quality of the treated water meets the PUB's requirements, the treated water will be used.

PWN Technologies said it believes ceramic technology is suitable for Singapore.

Apart from being cheaper, these membranes are in a single vessel which makes such treatment plants more compact, the company said.