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  Business Times 6 Jun 07
Search is on for energy efficient water treatment
Experts praise S'pore on NEWater, membrane research
By Vincent Wee and Matthew Phan

Straits Times 6 Jun 07
Race is on for green ways to treat water
S'pore to play key role with industry leaders wanting to learn from its success
By Tania Tan

Business Times 5 Jun 07
LKY prize boosts efforts for water technologies: Yaacob

By Vincent Wee

Channel NewsAsia 4 Jun 07
Nano-material filters could cut cost of cleaning water
Wong Mun Wai

SINGAPORE: The cost of filtering and recycling water could be reduced in a few years' time due to a new material developed by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Public Utilities Board (PUB).

This was revealed at an international water conference here, called the International Water Association Conference and Exhibition on Water and Wastewater Technologies.

The material that is being engineered by researchers from NTU and the PUB uses nanotechnology, which controls matter on a scale smaller than 1 micrometre, and is made up of nano-sized crystals. And because the crystals are so tiny, they are able to capture a large amount of unwanted matter in the water. That is why the nano-material works better than conventional cleaning filters or membranes.

Associate Professor Darren Sun, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, NTU, said: "Conventional polymer membrane is just a filter. But this new technology will make the filter double up as a reactor which will be able to destroy unwanted material."

The nano-material destroys unwanted matter like dissolved salts and chemical compounds in water by using ultraviolet light and visible light. The material then clears its surface to allow more unwanted material to collect. The final goal, which will take a few years, is to make a cleaning filter or membrane out of the nano-material. The focus now is on testing the material and possibly removing one stage of the pre-treatment of waste and sea water.

Researchers said another objective of the new filter is to prolong the lifespan of the membrane and reduce costs.

For now, the results of tests conducted are promising. To date, the filter can remove at least 20 percent more organic carbon which is one of the parameters to assess cleaner water.

The PUB estimates that a pilot plant could be built to test the nano-material at Chua Chu Kang Water works in about two years and the research project may apply to a scheme called Fast-Tech to fast-track water projects.

Also announced at the conference is the S$300,000 Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, which recognises organisations or individuals who come up with solutions to water problems. Nominations will open from the end of June. The winner will be announced next March and presented in June at the first Singapore International Water Week. - CNA/so

Business Times 5 Jun 07
LKY prize boosts efforts for water technologies: Yaacob

By Vincent Wee

SINGAPORE is playing a leading role in the development of water technologies and these efforts have been given a boost with the announcement of the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize which will be awarded next March. The prize is an international award to be given annually to recognise an individual or organisation for outstanding contribution towards solving the world's water problems by applying innovative technologies, or implementing policies and programmes which benefit humanity. The LKY Water Prize Laureate will be presented an award certificate, $300,000 and a gold medallion.

'This is a great opportunity for us to share and exchange ideas and thoughts on advances and developments in this important field,' said Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim at the opening of the International Water Association's (IWA) 4th Leading Edge Conference and Exhibition on Water and Wastewater Technologies yesterday.

'Through continuous investments in R&D and technology in the last 40 years, Singapore has overcome its challenges in water. As a beneficiary of technology, we hope that the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize can inspire more breakthroughs in water technology to help solve the world's water problems,' said Public Utilities Board (PUB) chief executive Khoo Teng Chye.

One notable outcome of these efforts has been the production of NEWater and for its work on this and other significant projects, PUB was awarded the prestigious Stockholm Industry Water Award last month.

Research and the development of new technologies is also seen as a major growth driver for the economy, added Dr Yaacob.

To this end, the National Research Foundation has committed some $330 million over five years to promote research in this sector. The government hopes to double the number of jobs in the water industry to 11,000 and triple the value-add to the economy to $1.7 billion by 2015.

Singapore's national water agency has to date undertaken or completed more than 90 R&D projects, including a promising collaboration between Nanyang Technological University and Stanford University on the use of nanotechnology for water treatment. This is one example of a research effort that could potentially have major economic impact in future.

Other efforts to promote this growing field will be the holding of the Singapore International Water Week next June.

The propagation of the sustainable water management message in Asia will also be helped by the opening of IWA's regional office at PUB's WaterHub this evening, which will help enhance the organisation's coordination and outreach to meet the region's needs.

Straits Times 6 Jun 07
Race is on for green ways to treat water
S'pore to play key role with industry leaders wanting to learn from its success
By Tania Tan

RESEARCHERS around the world are trying to develop water-treatment processes - some using atom-size materials - which do not hurt the environment, top experts in the field said yesterday.

This has become crucial as climate change and water shortages have forced a need for new technologies which maximise resources without further taxing the environment, said International Water Association (IWA) executive director Paul Reiter.

'We need three planets' worth of resources at the rate mankind is going,' he said.

Mr Harry Seah, director of the Public Utilities Board's (PUB) technology and water quality office, agreed, saying that the industry is 'now about environmental sustainability as well'.

They were speaking on the second day of the fourth IWA Leading-Edge Conference, which brings together more than 300 leaders in the industry to showcase cutting-edge technologies and techniques.

These include more efficient membrane filters, reactors which harness energy- producing bacteria from waste water, and nanotechnology systems which make treatment quicker and cheaper.

Though many of these inventions will probably hit the market only 'five to 10 years' down the road, they represent a concerted effort to address the global water crisis, said Mr Seah.

Singapore will play a key part, with industry leaders looking to take its brand of water management overseas. Integrating the waste and potable water management by recycling water and 'closing the loop' has been key to Singapore's water success, said Dr Jonathan Clement, chairman of the IWA conference programme committee.

The PUB's efforts won it the Stockholm Industry Water Award - one of the highest in the industry - last month.

'This is a model we need in other countries too,' added Dr Clement.

The recycling of water - as is done in the Newater project here - is an example that should be emulated. Calling the disposal of used water a 'concept from Victorian times', Dr Clement urged: 'We need to recycle.'

He commended Singapore's efforts to help countries in the region resolve their water problems - by lending expertise and financial assistance.

The Newater issue was brought up also by Dr Glen Daigger, senior vice-president and chief technology officer of United States-based water company CH2M Hill. Citing the emergence of Newater plants in China, he called Singapore's investments overseas a 'significant contribution' to helping nations take water to rural areas.

The three-day IWA conference will end today.

Business Times 6 Jun 07
Search is on for energy efficient water treatment
Experts praise S'pore on NEWater, membrane research
By Vincent Wee and Matthew Phan

WATER engineers are working towards more energy efficient, decentralised treatment systems based on membrane technology to respond to constraints in developing countries and rising energy costs, participants said yesterday at an International Water Association conference.

The conference, organised by the Public Utilities Board, convened international scientists to discuss recent breakthroughs in technology.

Singapore was held up as 'beacon'. Experts praised its bold steps to develop and implement NEWater and its continuing research into such issues as the lifespan of membranes and reducing waste by-products from the treatment process.

The move towards decentralised systems is critical to solving water shortages in countries like China and India, where the lack of water pipes constrains supplies. In India, installing pipes would mean expensive excavation of roads, said Jim Otta of engineering firm CH2M HILL.

Companies want a shortcut, as happened with telecommunications, he said. In China you can wait two years to get a fixed line but can buy a handphone for immediate use.

Simpler, decentralised systems could help address water shortage issues faster. Mr Otta said membrane technology is also the only way to clear water of certain synthetic hormones, which, thanks to growing consumption of pharmaceutical products, are more and more prevalent in waste effluent.

Energy efficiency is another big driver, as countries recognise that water treatment guzzles energy and that in the post-Kyoto Protocol world pollution has a price. There is therefore a move towards biological rather than chemical processes to clean water, as these rely on natural processes and need less energy.

Closed loop systems - in which waste water is treated and reused, then treated again in a closed cycle - also require less energy and are better suited to countries with limited resources.

Speakers emphasised that the concept of closing the water loop so all waste water is used again must be entrenched in people's minds. The traditional conceptual distinction between drinking water and waste water is blurring and it is inevitable the two will be integrated over time, they said.

Running parallel to this is the issue of trust, which is important to the operation of public utilities.

'Water is all about public confidence and inspiring trust in people,' said Jonathan Clement of the International Water Association. People also need to understand the importance of clean water and good sanitation. 'Water is a local enterprise and the people and the community need to understand this,' said IWA executive director Paul Reiter, who praised PUB's Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters programme.

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