Water & Wastewater Asia Nov/Dec 2019

Water & Wastewater Asia • November / December 2019 INSIGHT | 31 J oke Cuperus has been working hard ever since taking the helm as CEO of Dutch-owned water utility PWN in 2015. For instance, she signed an agreement last year with Japanese ceramic membrane specialist METAWATER to strengthen existing cooperation, and to promote the development and use of ceramic-membrane- based water treatment technologies. Recently, another partnership took place. In late August this year, PWN signed a memorandum of understanding with South West Water and Singapore’s National Water Agency PUB to form a utilities alliance aimed at sharing knowledge and information about the latest innovations, operational data and best practices on ceramic membrane systems for the next five years. Cuperus explained, “[The alliance] was formed due to an idea by PUB. I really liked that they proposed it because in the UK — South West Water, Anglian Water and Scottish Water — already have the membranes and are testing the innovations, and this alliance is a good idea to collaborate, share knowledge and experiences, and help each other with operational labour.” In addition, the alliance also aims to help with manpower and training courses. CONSTANTLY INNOVATING Ceramic membranes [PWNT’s CeraMac ® ] are currently the latest innovation in the membrane filtration technology, and Cuperus feels that more utilities will get on board with using this technology as they gain better understanding about how ceramic membranes differ from their polymeric cousins. “For the next decade or so, more people will gravitate towards using ceramic membranes as they are sustainable and a good solution. Polymeric membranes have a very short lifespan, but this [the ceramic membranes] is for 20 years. Some even go on for 30 to 40 years, depending on their usage,” she said. As more utilities make the shift towards ceramic membranes, Cuperus is now looking at how the technology can address issues such as the detection of microplastics and antibiotics in drinking water. “[Ceramic membranes] have very small holes, smaller than the ones in polymeric membranes. But we know that nanoplastics are so small that even those holes can’t keep them out of the water,” she explained. And so, PWNT has been focusing on developing and refining the technology to provide an efficient and sustainable solution. “It will take years of testing before any new technology can be adopted. This is to ensure that we’re not adding any risks to safe drinking water,” Cuperus explained. But with the company’s advanced research & development, the industry is already looking forward to how PWNT will tackle the issues with its well-known highly economical and compact solution. WWA Strategic alliances: Driving innovation in the water industry Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by PUB, PWN and South West Water to form a utilities alliance for sharing of knowledge and best practices on water treatment