On the water frontSingapore embarks on water reclamation project

Published 6 March 2008

Singapore suffers increasing water shortages; the country’s Public Utility Board (PUB) has joined with two specialists in the field in a joint development of wastewater reclamation technologies using separation membranes

One way to deal with water shortage is to reprocess — or “reclaim” — sewage by purifying it and making it fit for human consumption. Hydranautics/Nitto Denko Corporation and Mitsubishi Rayon Engineering Co. (MRE) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Public Utility Board (PUB), the Singaporean water administration branch, for a joint development of wastewater reclamation technologies using separation membranes. In 2000, as part of NEWater initiatives to make the island nation become more self-sufficient, PUB entered into a demonstration plant project aimed at establishing a wastewater reclamation technology (NEWater Project) using separation membranes. Hydranautics has a very strong presence in Singapore’s NEWater efforts, contributing Hydranautics low-fouling RO membrane elements developed by Hydranautics/Nitto Denko for wastewater reclamation. Currently 80 percent or more of NEWater generated by PUB — well over 1 million bottles (16.9 oz) each per day — is produced using Hydranautics’s RO membranes. MRE’s MBR-based test plant at Bedok Sewage Treatment Works in Singapore has cemented MRE’s solid PUB presence in microfiltration membrane (MF) performance. With numerous large scale MBR references around the world, MRE was a favored PUB MBR candidate for this joint Memorandum of Understanding.

In June of 2007 Hydranautics/Nitto Denko and MRE established a R&D technology joint venture — Kathyd Technology LLC. This new Hydranautics/Nitto Denko-MRE-PUB triad, formed by the February 2008 MOU, will provide membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology for treating activated sludge as well as reverse osmosis (RO) membrane technology for a future large-scale water reclamation facility to be constructed in Singapore. At the same time, the three companies will embark on the development of a technology offering superior economics for the maintenance, operation and administration of these membrane separation systems.

Hydranautics was founded in 1963, and in 1987 became part of Nitto Denko, a multibillion dollar corporation headquartered in Osaka, Japan. Nitto Denko was started in 1918, producing electrical insulation materials; it now has more than 114 companies in more than 20 countries, with over 20,000 employees worldwide. Hydranautics and parent company Nitto Denko together are regarded as industry leader in membrane development with a focus on unique surface coatings.