Water & Wastewater Asia Sep/Oct 2018

Water & Wastewater Asia • September / October 2018 IN PERSON | 17 Developed by PWNT’s partner, METAWATER Japan, the sustainable ceramic membranes have been successfully operating in Japan for more than 18 years. But housing each membrane module in individual casing has proven to be costly with a large footprint. By customising the number of ceramic membrane elements into one vessel, the application of the ceramic membranes becomes a compact solution that is highly economical. The smaller CeraMac ® systems, like the C-19 and C-37, are ideal as a stand- alone solution for remote locations where connecting several water plants or mobilising a site team can be difficult or costly. PROVEN RESULTS The effectiveness of the CeraMac ® was demonstrated when PUB (Public Utilities Board), Singapore’s national water agency, employed the pilot test of the ceramic membranes for Singapore’s Choa Chu Kang Water Works (CCKWW) in 2011 — making the water utility the first in Asia to use this technology. “We started with a capacity of 1.2 million cubic metres per day and after 18 months, we reached a capacity of three million litres per day,” said Middendorp. “This was very important not only in terms of capacity but also in terms of water quality. The water quality was very high and based on that, PUB decided to fully implement our technology in 2015. Now, we are building a full-scale installation, which we aim to complete by the end of the year.” Upon completion, CCKWW will be one of the largest ceramic membrane plants for drinking water treatment in the world. “PUB is always on the lookout for more innovative and cost-effective ways of treating and producing water. We have been studying and testing the merits of ceramic membrane technology for a few years now, and we are satisfied with the results,” said PUB’s chief technology officer, Harry Seah, on using ceramic membranes for CCKWW. And with a long-life expectancy, no risk of fibre breakage, very narrow pore size distribution, high backwash rate and high productivity of more than 97 per cent, the potential of the CeraMac ® has garnered a large amount of interest. “A lot of people come to us and say, “We want to use them too. Can you come to Scotland or the UK?”, and amongst others. We see it getting more and more popular. Even Australia already has some pilots, and the USA is very interested, along with Sweden,” said Joke Cuperus, CEO of PWN and PWNT. ON THE INDUSTRY According to Cuperus, as the industry moves towards a more sustainable way of purifying water, the CeraMac ® can also be an effective sustainable alternative for water re-use. “In the beginning, there was not much belief. But a lot of utilities started having difficulties with the polymer membrane due to its short life cycle,” she said. She also noticed that there is a constant search for innovations in Asia’s water and wastewater industry, which is reflected in PUB’s collaboration with PWNT. “That [PUB’s drive to innovate] gave us the opportunity six years ago to test our technology,” said Middendorp. In fact, for companies or utilities looking to innovate or drive growth in the industry, Cuperus’ advice is to “bring your governor along with you.” At SIWW 2018, Scottish Water brought their governor along, and he was wowed by the features of the ceramic membranes. “Before this, I’ve told him about our partnerships with Singapore, Lucerne [Switzerland], UK [South West Water] and many others, as well as our good cooperation with the Japanese. He saw the CeraMac ® plant that we are building at Choa Chu Kang Water Works and all the interest in our technology — there was news in the newsletters, seminars and panels. He was impressed!” she said. “They have to experience it for themselves, which is a very human thing,” Middendorp explained. ON PWNT With PWNT under the umbrella of PWN, Cuperus said it gives customers a boost in confidence that the technology is developed by a water utility that is using it as well. “They [Customers] always ask me as CEO of PWN to stay close with the daughter company [PWNT], or otherwise they wouldn’t do it,” said Cuperus. “Because it gives them confidence,” explained Middendorp. “If we were just another water technology provider, it wouldn’t give them that kind of confidence,” she added. While PWNT’s close cooperation with METAWATER and PUB has helped the company to tap into opportunities in Asia, Cuperus hopes that PWNT will continue to grow further on the global stage so as to showcase the benefits of ceramic membranes to the world. “That’ll be really amazing,” she said. WWA