Dutch to build ceramic membrane demo plant in Singapore

PWN Technologies (PWNT) of the Netherlands is to build Singapore’s first ceramic membrane demonstration plant at Choa Chu Kang Waterworks.

The Sing$ 5 million (US$ 4.07 million) plant will have a daily capacity of 1,200 m³/d and will undergo stringent testing for 18 months by PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, and PWNT to check its performance and system optimisation.

Following on from an encouraging initial pilot project at the Bedok NEWater Factory, the demonstration plant has been made possible with a grant from the Technology Pioneer Scheme under the Environment & Water Industry Programme Office. PUB wants to evaluate further the reliability and sustainability of ceramic membrane technology for large-scale operations.

“Although the cost of ceramic membranes is higher than our current polymeric membranes, they have a much longer lifespan of 15-20 years,” said Harry Seah, director of PUB’s Technology & Quality Water Office. ” 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 engineers Black & Veatch and Japan’s Metawater, which supplies the ceramic membrane elements, to develop the demonstration plant, which aims to demonstrate the overall efficiency and long term cost-effectiveness of ceramic membranes.

Jonathan Clement, director of technology application for 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 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 pretreatment installation based on SIX (Suspended Ion eXchange) and CeraMac for PWN Water Supply Company North Holland in Andijk, Netherlands, that will become operational at the end of 2013.”