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Singapore's first large-scale desalination plant capable of treating both seawater and freshwater opens

Singapore's first large-scale desalination plant capable of treating both seawater and freshwater opens

Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant. (Photo: Keppel)

SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB and Keppel officially opened Singapore’s first large-scale dual-mode desalination plant on Thursday (Feb 4).

The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant, which is located at Marina East, can treat seawater, as well as freshwater drawn from the Marina Reservoir, depending on the prevailing weather conditions. 

It is Singapore's fourth desalination plant. 

Both reservoir water and seawater can be drawn via the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant's dual flow chamber, which is joined to the main plant by a 1.8km-long pipeline. 

The plant's treatment facilities are contained underground, but it has nearly 20,000 sq m of open green rooftop space for community activity and recreation, said PUB and Keppel in a news release. 

Bicycle parking and toilet facilities are available at the public recreation space.  

The plant also incorporates eco-features such as rain harvesting to meet the needs of irrigation and water features. 

The opening ceremony was officiated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, with Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu also in attendance.

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"Seawater desalination is one of Singapore's 'four national taps'. Unlike the other three taps - imports, rainfall and recycled water - it is a practically limitless source," said PUB CEO Ng Joo Hee.

"It is also weather-resistant and always available, rain or shine, as a source of life-giving water. The availability of desalination makes Singapore's water supply immensely resilient. And the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant coming online further strengthens Singapore's water security." 

The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant is the second water plant developed and operated by Keppel under the Design, Build, Own and Operate arrangement with PUB. It is operated by a Keppel subsidiary, Marina East Water, for a 25-year concession period - from 2020 to 2045.

The first plant, Keppel Seghers Ulu Pandan NEWater Plant, commenced commercial operations in 2007.

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The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant, which commenced operations in June last year, is capable of producing about 30 million gallons of fresh drinking water per day, said PUB and Keppel. This is about 7 per cent of Singapore's total water demand.

The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant also allows for "significant cost and space saving", as well as increased energy efficiency, said PUB and Keppel. 

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Dissolved air floatation process at Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant. (Photo: Keppel)

The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant is the most compact desalination plant in Singapore with overall land area of approx 2.8ha, with its equipment and processes occupying an area of 2.4ha.

This is due to several factors. One of which because it is the first desalination plant in Singapore to directly couple both ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis systems, where water filtered from the upstream ultrafiltration process is fed directly to the downstream reverse osmosis process.  

This eliminates the need for immediate break tanks and pumping stages, saving costs and space. The entire plant is also between 12 to 15 per cent more energy efficient in its operations.  

It also is the first water treatment plant in Singapore to use ultraviolet radiation as the primary disinfection process.

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"Keppel is pleased to mark the official opening of the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant and support the Singapore government in strengthening the resilience of Singapore's water supply," said Dr Ong Tiong Guan, chief executive officer of Keppel Infrastructure. 

Dr Ong noted that the development and operation of the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant is "very much in line" with Keppel's vision 2030, which envisages the company providing "environmental solutions to contribute to sustainable urbanisation". 

He added: "The completion of the plant within budget and on schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic is a further testament to the resilience of Keppel and PUB, and our strong partnership, which has grown from strength to strength.”

Source: CNA/rw

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