Hyflux Tuaspring Desalination

The new Tuaspring Desalination Plant offers greater capacity at a lower cost by tapping new technologies.

Singapore’s newest desalination plant has been two years in the making.

Water solutions firm Hyflux won the tender to build the Tuaspring plant in 2011, and it is using some of its latest technologies to make the plant more efficient at producing potable water from seawater that is fit for drinking.

Tuaspring boasts one of the world’s largest installations of Hyflux’s Kristal ® proprietary Ultrafiltration membranes, which are more effective.

When seawater from the surrounding sea is passed through the membranes, virtually all bacteria is blocked out and impurities as small as 0.01 micron can also be filtered away.

The filtered water is consistently of high quality and this helps boost the performance and life span of membranes used in the next step of desalination — the reverse osmosis process.

Hyflux’s Executive Chairman and Group CEO Olivia Lum elaborated: “The key advantage is that we are able to make it more efficient, make the whole plant more efficiently operated. At the same time, using ultrafiltration membrane as pre-treatment would allow us to bring down the costs of water produced.

“We have integrated a power plant and this power plant together with the desalination plant, side by side, will be able to bring down also the operating costs because most of these costs in producing seawater desalination are energy, so we put the energy power plant side by side. This will help also the operations to be more efficiently run.”

To make it even more efficient, a power plant has been integrated into the design of the plant to provide electricity.

Any excess energy generated will be sold to the national grid. These measures have resulted in significant cost-savings.

The first-year price for the desalinated water to be delivered to PUB is 45 cents per cubic metre.

That is about 40 per cent cheaper than that of Singapore’s first desalination plant, SingSpring, which was also built by Hyflux.

The first-year price of water for SingSpring Desalination Plant is S$0.78 per cubic metre.

PUB said this will not affect the price of water for households as other factors are also taken into consideration.

Desalination is an important supply of water for Singapore as the country has little land to collect and store rainwater.

Chief Executive of PUB Chew Men Leong said: “Desalination is an important and integral part of our four national taps. It will actually enhance our water security and actually enable us to achieve greater resilience against weather uncertainties, especially prolonged drought situations.

“The opportunity for us here through the public private partnership working with industry here, Hyflux has enabled us to tap on the innovation and efficiency of the private sector. Hyflux optimises the technology configuration, thereby giving us competitive pricing (and) with that we are able to expand our supply of water, enhance our water security, and at the same time, keep a lid on the rising pressures of cost.”

The government intends to ramp up production capacity by 2060 so that desalinated water can meet up to 25 per cent of total water demand in the long term.

The other sources of water are local catchment water; imported water from Malaysia; and reclaimed water known as NEWater.