PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, has selected the Netherlands’ PWN Technologies (PWNT) to build the nation’s first ceramic membrane demonstration plant at its Choa Chu Kang Waterworks. This S$5 million plant has a daily capacity of 1.2 million litres and will be placed on a 18-month trial undergoing stringent testing by PUB and PWNT to check its performance and system optimisation.

This demonstration plant is made possible with a grant from the Technology Pioneer (TechPioneer) Scheme under the Environment & Water Industry Programme Office (EWI). In 2006, the EWI committed S$330 million over five years to groom the research and development sector in Singapore’s environment and water industry.

Further evaluation reliability
Through an initial pilot project at the Bedok NEWater Factory which showed encouraging results, PUB is moving forward with this demonstration plant to further evaluate the reliability and sustainability of ceramic membranes technology for large scale operations.

Longer lifespan than polymeric membranes
Mr Harry Seah, Director of Technology & Quality Water Office from PUB said: “Although the cost of ceramic membranes is higher than our current polymeric membranes, it has a much longer lifespan of 15-20 years. We have built our Four National Taps strategy based on Research & Development. Building a ceramic membrane demonstration plant at our Chua Chu Kang Waterworks follows the footstep of our R&D tradition.”

PWNT has collaborated with engineering company Black & Veatch and Metawater who supply the ceramic membrane elements to develop the demonstration plant which aims to demonstrate the overall efficiency and long term cost-effectiveness of ceramic membranes.

Innovative block design
Mr Jonathan Clement, Director of Technology Application of PWNT said: “CeraMac is an innovative block design that marks a new era in the application of ceramic membranes in treatment for drinking water. The key design feature of CeraMac is that rather than having ceramic membrane modules in individual stainless steel casings, up to 200 ceramic elements can now be housed in a single stainless steel vessel. With a significant reduction in materials usage and plant size, this sustainable innovation minimises the set-up and operating costs of using ceramic membranes to a level that is cost-competitive with legacy polymeric membranes. Currently, we are also developing a full-scale pre-treatment installation based on SIX (Suspended Ion eXchange) and CeraMac for PWN Water Supply Company North Holland in Andijk, The Netherlands, that will become operational end 2013.”

Next-generation solution
Mr Ralph Eberts, Executive Vice President in Black & Veatch’s global water business, added that the demonstration plant at Choa Chu Kang will illustrate the sustainable benefits of this next-generation solution. “Our team will focus on the design of the installation as well as the peripheral connections to the demonstration plant. We look forward to having a long-term partnership with PWN Technologies and implementing this revolutionary water treatment technology with clients throughout our global network.”

At the end of the trial, PWNT will submit a detailed report to PUB. The national water agency will then evaluate the practicality of this new system as a viable solution to meet Singapore’s long term needs in drinking water treatment.

This news item was originally published on the website of the Singapore Governement.

Also more information on the website of PWN Technologies