Desalination Membranes Asia

Singapore invests $200m to drive desalination efficiency & resource circularity

Thursday, 10 March 2022

The Singapore government will invest $200 million to drive new initiatives in the water technologies and resource circularity.

A financial boost to circularity

New initiatives in water technologies and resource circularity are being given a financial boost in Singapore.

The government is allocating S$220 million (US$161.5m) under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 Urban Solutions & Sustainability (USS) domain.

A total of S$87 (US$63.8m) million is being allocated to support three water technology focus areas:

  • Desalination and water reuse
  • Used water treatment
  • Waste reduction & resource recovery.

Grace Fu, minister for sustainability and the environment told parliament: "Our investments will go towards developing high impact solutions for our national water needs.”

“Research and innovation will be an engine for green growth.”

The funds allocated to water will support the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI), as well as the Separation Technologies Applied Research and Translation (START). Both are part of the national water agency, PUB’s, centres of excellence programme.

Fu reportedly added that "research and innovation will also be an engine for green growth, spurring private sector R&D spending, job creation and technology spin-offs in the water industry and adjacent sectors.”

Next-gen desalination

As part the 2025 investment and strategy, plans are in place to commission a new desalination “integration validation” facility by 2023.

The ambition is to trial “promising technologies” to reduce the energy consumption of desalination, including system level consumption to less than 2 kilowatt hours per cubic metre (kWh/m3) of water.

According to the National Environment Agency, this development will take the water utility “one step closer to attaining net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century”.

As well as developing the investments helping to develop “high impact” solutions for Singapore’s national water needs, the added finance is designed to help accelerate the export of acquired expertise and solutions.

“NEWRI has deployed technologies with local and global applications in areas such as biomimetic membranes for desalination, and anchored investments from global companies in Singapore,” added Fu.

Last summer, PUB announced it would be using drones equipped with remote sensing systems to monitor water quality and activities.

Closing the loop

Aside from water, the NEA is administering a new S$80 million Closing the Resource Loop Funding initiative to support the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and the Zero Waste Masterplan.

The boosted R&D will help to support recovery solutions for “key waste streams”, such as electronic waste, plastics and food.

One of the main objectives for the initiative is help achieve a 70 per cent overall recycling rate by 2030.

Singapore’s Zero Waste Masterplan, launched in 2019, charts the path towards the vision of a Zero Waste Nation. It sets out national waste management targets to:

  • Achieve a 70 per cent overall recycling rate; and
  • Reduce the amount of waste sent to Semakau Landfill per capita per day by 30 per cent by 2030.

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