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Singapore water agency launches $22.6m Request for Proposals

PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, has announced three Requests for Proposals (RFPs), inviting technology providers and researchers to submit applications for S$30 million (US$22.68 million) worth of grants.

The multi-million grant call is aimed at enhancing the country’s water treatment processes via solutions in water and used water treatment, industrial water and smart technologies

Singapore’s water needs have spurred many innovative solutions – R&D has been the key to achieving a robust and sustainable water supply.

Water demand is expected to double by 2060 in Singapore, with the non-domestic sector making up 70% of demand then – more energy-intensive sources such as NEWater and desalinated water will meet up to 85% of Singapore’s water needs. The agency is looking inter alia for solutions which maximise water efficiency and lower energy use in water and used water treatment.

Harry Seah, PUB’s Assistant Chief Executive (Future Systems and Technology), commented:

“Investing in R&D is important for PUB to develop innovative water solutions that can improve the efficiency of water treatment and keep our water supply sustainable. Through continuous R&D over the years, we have identified several promising technologies. We want to work with technology providers and researchers to develop these technologies further and demonstrate their commercial viability.”

The first RFP targets specific technologies in enhancing energy efficiency of the water and used water treatment process. For water treatment, it aims to reduce the energy consumption of desalination and NEWater through biomimicry.

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, the RFP targets to achieve energy self-sufficient water reclamation plants through Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactors incorporating the Anammox process, and/or other innovative nutrients removal/recovery process. This aims to minimise the energy needed to treat used water and recover more energy from the process, such that used water treatment uses only as much energy as it generates.

The second RFP aims to enhance water efficiency in industries through water recycling or reducing water consumption. Proposals are to be submitted by the industrial or commercial host, in collaboration with an identified technology provider.

The third RFP 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.

$30 million in total has been allocated for the 3 RFPs. The RFPs are part of the 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 research community in Singapore.

Companies that can bring the proposed water technology to market can submit their proposals. Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) or Research Institutes (RIs) can also collaborate with an industrial partner that could accelerate the commercialisation/translation of the project and submit a joint proposal.

Interested applicants can submit their application via NRF’s Integrated Grants Management System – deadline for submissions is 13 March 2018, 4pm (Singapore time, GMT +08:00).

Click here to access PUB’s dedicated IGMS submissions portal.

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