Hyflux and university to develop water-efficient technology
Both aim to produce a new generation membrane that will lower energy use in water plants
MAYUKO TANI, Nikkei staff writer
SINGAPORE -- Water plant developer Hyflux announced a partnership with Nanyang Technological University Tuesday to develop advanced technologies using protein to cut the running cost of seawater desalination facilities. The company hopes to develop the technology in three to five years and become leader of the market.
The technology is important for the water-scare island state, which is keen to reduce its dependence on imports from Malaysia. Hyflux and Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute of NTU signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to develop a aquaporin-based biomimetic membrane.
Aquaporin, the "water channel" for cells, is a protein that attaches on cell membranes and transports water molecule in and out of cells. The use of the aquaporin-based membrane in water treatment plants will speed up the process of desalination and "increase energy efficiency," Hyflux said in a press release.
"This technology has the potential to revolutionize water purification techniques especially in seawater desalination," Chairman and CEO Olivia Lum said at the signing ceremony. The collaboration with NTU will "help bring innovative water solutions to the communities around the world," Lum added.
Energy efficiency is a key focus in the industry because reverse osmosis membrane, which is currently used in desalination plants, requires high pressure and consumes much energy.
Laboratory research will be done in NTU, while Hyflux will work in research and development with the aim of eventually mass producing the membrane. The application of the technology to waste-water treatment will come first, Lim Swee Kwang, executive vice president told reporters, before being moved to seawater desalination.
Hyflux on Tuesday also announced that it was establishing a 50-suite spa facility in central Singapore in the third quarter this year, to boost its consumer wellness business. In an effort to diversify its revenue sources, Hyflux bought a 30% stake in Hungarian water technology company Kaqun Europe Zrt and acquired the sales rights of the ELO-brand of water in Asia, Middle East and Africa in 2015.