Toray to set up desalination/reuse R&D lab in Singapore

The establishment of Toray Water Technology Laboratory (TWTL) in Singapore to conduct research and development of water treatment technologies was announced by Toray Industries Inc on 24 June 2009. The Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will be Toray’s partner for its research activities in Singapore.

TWTL is part of Toray’s vision to be a leading membrane manufacturer by 2010, particularly in the reverse-osmosis (RO) membrane market for seawater desalination and reclamation of wastewater. The lab will be supported by PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, the Economic Development Board, and NEWRI’s R&D centres – the Singapore Membrane Technology Centre and the Institute of Environmental Science & Engineering.

TWTL’s R&D activities focus on membrane-based water treatment technologies. For its inaugural project, Toray is collaborating with NEWRI to develop innovative water treatment technologies in the area of membrane fouling mechanisms. The joint research will be led by Professor Ng Wun Jern, executive director of NEWRI, who is also an international authority in water and wastewater treatment technology.

To seal the research partnership, Professor Ng and Dr Tadahiro Uemura, director, Toray Industries Inc, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 24 June 2009 in Singapore.

The centre will start research activities from September 2009 with a staff of five people including engineers and researchers dispatched from Japan in addition to local employees. Toray plans to expand the size of the laboratory’s staff to 30 or more people over five years.

In December 2007, Toray signed an MOU regarding water treatment-related joint development with PUB. Under the agreement, PUB and Toray aim to train and nurture young engineers at universities in Singapore. The new joint research with NTU is expected also to serve this purpose.