Singapore to halve energy use and emissions from water desalination, says Fu

22-Jun-2021 Intellasia | Bloomberg | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Singapore aims to halve the energy consumption and carbon emissions of its desalination plants and increase the efficiency of its NEWater technology, as part of its goal to enhance water security while reducing the nation’s carbon footprint.

The Republic will also unveil one of the world’s largest floating solar panel systems next month at Tengeh Reservoir. First announced in February 2020, the system will generate enough energy to power Singapore’s five water treatment plants, creating a “fully green water works system”, says Grace Fu, minister for Sustainability and the Environment (MSE).

The system’s 122,000 solar panels are spread across 10 solar panel islands, equivalent to the size of 45 football fields. When operational, the system will produce enough electricity to power around 16,000 four-room Housing Board flats for a year.

“We will progressively deploy more solar photovoltaic systems in other reservoirs, such as Bedok and Lower Seletar Reservoirs, and use the solar energy to power water pumping stations,” adds Fu.

Fu gave the opening address at the 2021 Singapore International Water Week (SIWW), taking place virtually from June 21 to July 2. Since its inception in 2008, SIWW has become a platform for global water leaders, experts and practitioners to share best practices, collaborate on urban water solutions and generate new business opportunities.

With population growth and climate change, water stresses will only continue to rise, notes Fu. “Besides domestic use, water is critical to industries ranging from the semiconductor plants in Taiwan to the farmers in California.”

Looking ahead, Singapore will unveil the self-sufficient Tuas Nexus in 2025: an integrated solid waste to energy (WTE), used water treatment and reclamation facility and food WTE plant.

The plant will enhance resource efficiency by tapping on synergies with other sectors, says Fu. “Apart from solar power and the WTE incinerator, the used water sludge and food waste will be combined to produce biogas. No fossil fuels are needed to power the Nexus’ operations.”

Formerly known as the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, MSE was renamed in July 2020, highlighting its commitment to sustainability.

Singapore is playing its part to advance the sustainability agenda, says Fu. “This year, we launched the Singapore Green plan 2030, a roadmap to guide Singapore’s sustainable future and achieve our aspirations of net zero emissions as soon as it is viable.”

PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, launched its first Global Innovation Challenge last year and received 100 submissions from 20 countries. Eight companies were awarded pilot funding, access to real world testbeds in PUB’s facilities and mentorship and commercialisation opportunities through the Singapore water exchange.

If these pilots are successful, PUB will help these companies bring their products to market, says Fu. The second edition of this challenge will be launched later this month.

Water security is a longstanding issue,” says Fu. “More than ever, we need to take a global approach to develop new solutions to our water problems. According to a World Economic Forum study, half the world’s largest cities experienced water scarcity and the gap between global water supply and demand is increasing.”

“We must engage in the open exchange of knowledge and innovative solutions to manage global water resources in a sustainable manner. Only by working together can we ensure water security for all,” says Fu.


Category: Singapore

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