PUB supports research on next generation water options for Singapore

  • Research


Singapore’s national water agency, PUB, is seeking research proposals to help deliver a next generation of water solutions and technologies, allocating S$30million in grants to support three requests for proposals.

The first request covers treatment technologies for water and wastewater / used water. For water treatment, PUB aims to use biomimicry to reduce the energy requirements of desalination and production of NEWater – PUB’s reclaimed water brand. PUB says this involves exploring water channels or transporters that use very low energy, such as aquaporins derived from specific species of microorganism, fish and mangrove plants, as well as synthetic channels, for incorporation into biomimetic membranes.

For used water treatment, PUB says the first request covers the aim of achieving energy self-sufficient water reclamation plants through use of anaerobic membrane bioreactors incorporating the Anammox process, and/or other innovative nutrients removal/recovery process. It says this aims to minimise the energy needed to treat used water and to recover more energy from the process, with a goal of used water treatment using only as much energy as it generates.

The second request aims to enhance industrial water efficiency through water recycling or reducing water consumption. For this, PUB is seeking proposals from the industrial or commercial host, in collaboration with an identified technology provider.

PUB says the third request looks at enhancing operational efficiency by leveraging smart technologies such as robotics, drones, automation, data analytics and informatics, and video analytics, to minimise manpower required in operations and maintenance.

According to PUB, water demand is expected to double by 2060, with the non-domestic sector making up 70% of demand then. Water sources such as NEWater and desalinated water are more energy intensive and will meet up to 85% of Singapore’s water needs by that date.

PUB adds that the latest requests are part of the country’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan under the Competitive Research Programme (Water). In 2006, water was identified as a key growth industry, and funding of S$670 million from the NRF has been committed over 15 years (2006-2020) to foster leading-edge technologies and create a thriving and vibrant research community in Singapore.


  • Singapore, municipal wastewater, municipal water, desalination, water reuse