Dow Water Solutions and PUB Singapore Collaborate on New 16-inch Membranes
Next-generation FILMTEC™ Membranes Promise to Deliver on Quality and Economics.
Midland, MI and Singapore.-Dow Water Solutions, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, and PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, have signed an agreement to test-bed Dow’s next-generation FILMTEC™ membranes for use in water reclamation.
The joint collaborative research effort, which commenced at PUB’s Bedok NEWater plant in early October, is expected to validate preliminary data indicating that Dow’s newer 16-inch FILMTEC membrane modules are more efficient in water reclamation than current standard 8-inch modules. Once validated, the next-generation membrane technology will allow for more efficient and affordable water reclamation and reuse processes at large-scale treatment facilities.
“We’re constantly pursuing breakthroughs in membrane technology to improve the economics of full-scale desalination and water reuse to help relieve water shortages in water-stressed areas around the world,” said Cedella Beazley, global product market manager, FILMTEC membranes, Dow Water Solutions. “We’ve teamed with PUB, an organization with a strong track record in sustainable water management, to conduct comprehensive product and process research, and help determine conditions for the larger-diameter modules to deliver superior performance on both the economic and water quality levels. Conclusive results of the testing are likely to classify the 16-inch membranes as the future standard for water reuse.”
Although not naturally blessed with an abundance of water or land, PUB has been investing in water technologies and R&D in the last four decades, and today, it has put in place a robust and diversified water supply strategy known as the Four National Taps. The four sources of water are water from local catchment, imported water, reclaimed water (branded NEWater in Singapore) and desalinated water.
In the process of finding solutions in the last few decades, Singapore has managed to turn its limitations into a strategic strength for the country and is fast becoming a global hub for water treatment products and technologies.
“We are proud Dow has chosen Singapore to be the global testing site for its 16-inch FILMTEC Membranes,” said Harry Seah, PUB’s director of technology and water quality office. “This valuable collaboration with Dow will advance both organizations’ R&D work in developing new technologies that can create sustainable water solutions, and establish Singapore as a global ‘test bed’ for companies rolling out new products and technologies.”
The 16-inch FILMTEC™ Reverse Osmosis membrane elements from Dow have an active surface area of 1,725 square feet – more than four times that of the standard 8-inch element currently used in full-scale reverse osmosis systems for water reuse. The increase in active surface area will greatly decrease the number of membrane elements needed for the same quantity of reclaimed water, reducing the system’s footprint and equipment needs and providing capital cost savings for plant operators. The reduction in the number of reverse osmosis elements and trains also is expected to deliver savings in maintenance and operation costs due to a seven-fold decrease in the number of permeate o-ring seals.
The joint effort involves building an advanced reverse osmosis system. PUB and Dow Water Solutions will conduct a controlled parallel study of the 16-inch FILMTEC™ membranes versus a conventional 8-inch reverse osmosis system to evaluate key aspects of membrane performance. The companies will examine the handling (membrane loading and unloading), transportation and storage of the larger-diameter membranes; ways to balance capital and operating costs; and optimum system design parameters. The system will also feature a secure, remote monitoring data acquisition capability which will allow a global community of networked researchers to have real-time access to all gathered data.
This announcement further underscores Dow’s strategy to invest in performance businesses like Dow Water Solutions, and also illustrates the Company’s commitment to provide pure water for both industrial and drinking water applications globally, as part of its 2015 sustainability goals.
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