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Singapore’s National Water Agency awards ABB $30m contract to automate world’s largest membrane bioreactor

PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency has awarded ABB a contract worth around $30 million (S$40.5 million) to deliver a complete site-wide plant monitoring and control system for the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (WRP).

With a treatment capacity of 800,000m³​ per day, Tuas Water Reclamation Plant will ensure Singapore’s water security through the reclamation of used water.

With a 30 percent more compact footprint than conventional plants, the Tuas WRP is a key component of the second phase of Singapore’s Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS), which is estimated to cost about $4.8 billion (S$6.5 billion).

Tuas WRP will receive used water flows from the western part of Singapore via two separate deep tunnels and apply membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology to treat and purify 650,000m3/day of domestic used water to generate NEWater, with a further 150,000m3/day of used industrial water treated and sent back to industries for reuse. MBR is a filtration process where membranes are used to separate different substances.

Considered one of the world’s most water-stressed nations that has no natural water sources, Singapore is investing heavily in technology that will help it provide its growing population of 5.69 million and businesses with high-quality water in the future.

Peter Terwiesch, President ABB Industrial Automation, said:

“Water demand in Singapore is currently about 430 million gallons a day, with homes consuming 45 percent and industry taking up the rest. By 2060, the need for water is expected to almost double. To meet this demand, it is essential to close the water loop and ensure every drop is collected, treated, and reused. We are happy to support this quest to treat and purify water at the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant, and simultaneously help to manage and save energy needed in the process.”

Leveraging its ABB Ability™ 800xA control platform and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), ABB will deploy process control systems across multiple facilities at the site.

The overall system will integrate over 100,000 input/output signals from different assets including pumping stations, a wet weather facility, biosolids, domestic liquid and industrial liquid modules and product water storage, into one unified control platform, providing complete visibility of operations across the plant network. ABB will also deliver advance process control solutions to improve plant performance and efficiency.

Brandon Spencer, President of ABB Energy Industries commented:

“The Tuas Water Reclamation Plant has been conceived as a compact and energy self-sufficient installation. Our solution will enable a small team of operators on site to gain complete visibility of operations and access to all process data to take decisions that optimize performance in real time.”

Integrating a power monitoring system alongside a building management system, operators will be able to monitor ventilation and air conditioning systems and, critically, manage energy utilization across the site.

Alarm monitoring and security systems will also be deployed to help ensure industrial control, including cyber security solutions that assess threats and test vulnerability, meeting Singapore’s stringent cyber security requirements.  To support successful implementation and delivery of all systems, operators will be provided operator simulator training. ABB service teams will provide continuous asset, system monitoring and preventative maintenance for a further eight years after construction is completed.

Singapore is internationally recognised as a model city for integrated water management.  Its NEWater is a high-grade reclaimed water produced from treated used water that is further purified using advanced membrane technologies and ultra-violet disinfection, making it ultra-clean and safe to drink. It is a core pillar of water sustainability in Singapore.

The Tuas Water Reclamation Plant is part of an integrated development known as the Tuas Nexus. The Tuas Nexus is a world-first greenfield development, which integrates two complex facilities that bring water and solid waste treatment processes together to harness synergies of the water-energy-waste nexus.

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