Hyflux and NEWRI to collaborate on biomimetric membranes

Water treatment specialist Hyflux has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI) to collaborate on commercialising advanced membrane technologies, particularly aquaporin-based biomimetic membranes, and nanofiltration applications.

The initiative aligns with the priorities of Singapore’s Research Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 funding, which is designed to help leverage public-private partnerships in order to commercialise new technologies. Biomimetic membranes have been identified by Singapore’s water agency, PUB, as an emerging membrane technology that significantly increases the energy efficiency of desalination.

Aquaporins are naturally occurring proteins that transport water through channels in the membranes of biological cells; biomimetic membranes leverage these hydrophilic proteins to increase the energy efficiency of water treatment processes.

The news was one of three investments announced by Hyflux, the other two being moves to automate its Tuas manufacturing plant, and a new water therapy facility. All three initiatives are in partnership with Singapore Economic Development Board.