Singapore’s water industry now has 100 corporate players – up from 50 in 2006 when the hydrohub was formed. Over the period 2006–2011, these water companies secured over 100 international projects worth close to S$9 billion (about US$7 billion).
Research efforts – an integral activity of the hydrohub – are steadily coming to fruition with new technologies, partnerships and solutions making their way into the local and global market. These are some of the new commercial ventures that arose from R&D:
• Aquaporin Asia Pte Ltd is a joint venture between DHI Environment & Water (Singapore) Pte Ltd, NTU Ventures and Aquaporin A/S, a Denmark-based company that develops biomimetic membranes based on aquaporins.
This is a spin-off from a project between Singapore Membrane Technology Centre and Aquaporin A/S. The company intends to set up a membrane manufacturing plant in Singapore.
• HydroVision Asia Pte Ltd, a start-up by HydroVision GmbH, Germany, is a flow meter supplier. The company is the result of a project between DHI-NTU R&D centre and HydroVision GmbH to develop acoustic flow, sediment and mass flow meters.
• Visenti Pte Ltd is a smart water company arising from the research by Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART). Visenti has been working with the Public Utilities Board (PUB) since 2008 to deploy its WaterWiSe technology, an end-to-end integrated hardware and software system for real-time monitoring, analysing and modelling urban water distribution systems.
• Fluigen Pte Ltd develops integrated waterborne pathogen monitoring systems for municipal and industrial applications. It has developed a highly-efficient water concentration instrument that can filter up to 1,000 litres in 30 minutes without clogging and damaging the sample, as well as capture pathogens recovered from the filter at a near-100% recovery rate.
• Water Optics Technology Pte Ltd pioneered Parasitometer, a device that uses laser technology to detect ultra-low concentrations of waterborne pathogens in drinking water. The product is slated for commercial launch in late 2012.
• ZWEEC Analytics Pte Ltd developed a Fish Activity Monitoring System (FAMS) with PUB and A*STAR. This functions on the basis that changes in water quality affect the motion of fish, which will prompt the system to send an alert to a central monitoring location. This acts as a first line of defence against contaminants in the water.
These R&D efforts will be showcased at the Singapore International Water Week from July 1st to 4th 2012.
Recent key investments
• In 2011, PWN Technologies (PWNT), Netherlands set up a site at PUB’s Choa Chu Kang Waterworks to optimise and demonstrate the capabilities of the CeraMac filtration system. It also recently opened its Singapore office, the first outside of the Netherlands.
• Mann+Hummel, a German manufacturer of automotive filters and water treatment systems, has located the global headquarters of its water filtration division in Singapore.
• Toshiba Corporation recently set up the Aqua Research Centre in Singapore, its first water treatment R&D centre outside Japan. Toshiba will collaborate with PUB to develop and test a new adsorbent named “Functional Powder” to remove toxic elements in semiconductor wastewater.
Expansion of SMEs
• Memiontec Pte Ltd makes use of reverse osmosis, ion exchange and chemical treatment for ultra pure water purification or wastewater treatment. While headquartered in Singapore, it has established subsidiaries in China and Indonesia and secured projects internationally, in countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Oman.
• Mattenplant Pte Ltd specialises in the manufacture and distribution of standard, modular and packaged water systems using ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis and ion exchange technologies. It has extended its international footprint to Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Homegrown water champion
Last year, Moya Asia clinched a S$145 million 25-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) project on a fresh water treatment complex in Tangerang City, West Java, Indonesia. The BOT project will be rolled out in three zones, with a combined capacity of 168,480 cu m per day when fully completed in 2016.