Singapore opens Tuas Desalination Plant
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Singapore’s Tuas Desalination Plant (TDP) was opened yesterday (28 June), making it the third desalination plant in the country and also the first to be owned and operated by PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency.

TDP is a compact plant, occupying a footprint of 3.5 ha. It can produce up to 30 million gallons a day (mgd) - or 136,000 cu m - of drinking water, equivalent to the water demand of about 200,000 households.

According to PUB, it is the first desalination plant in Singapore to adopt a robust pre-treatment process that combines Dissolved Air Floatation and Ultrafiltration. Such a combination helps to reduce membrane fouling when treating seawater of varying water quality, thereby enhancing operational efficiency.

Another first for TDP is its pursuit of clean energy, says PUB.  A 1.2 MWp solar photovoltaics (PV) system is planned to be installed on more than half of the plant’s roof surface by the end of 2018. Covering over 7,000 sq m of the roof surface, the solar PV system is expected to generate some 1.4 mil kWh of clean energy a year, equivalent to powering the energy needs of more than 300 four-room flats a year. This will help to power the energy needs of part of the plant and reduce the plant’s carbon footprint.

TDP is a strategic infrastructural asset that aims to boost Singapore's desalination capacity from the current 100 to 130 mgd, meeting up to 30% of the country’s current water demand. By 2060, desalination is expected to meet up to 30% of Singapore's water needs.

“Seawater desalination has a starring role in Singapore’s water future. And the opening of this TDP is another milestone in our quest for enduring water security. TDP may well be the most space-efficient one of its kind in the world. Being owned and operated by PUB, it serves to anchor core desalinating competency inside of PUB. More excitingly, it is a real-world testbed for the cutting-edge technologies that PUB has been exploring in recent years in our ambitious bid to half the energy take for seawater desalination,” said Ng Joo Hee, chief executive of PUB.

Besides TDP, Singapore has two other desalination plants in operation – SingSpring (30 mgd) and Tuaspring (70 mgd). The other two desalination plants are still under development – at Marina East (30 mgd) and on Jurong Island (30 mgd) - which are scheduled for completion in 2020.