TOKYO, Japan, June 12, 2008 -- Toray Industries Inc. has won an order to supply "low fouling reverse osmosis membrane elements" for a large-scale wastewater recycling plant in the Changi region of Singapore. The plant will have the capacity to produce 228,000 cubic meters of water per day and is expected to begin operations in a phased manner from 2009 to 2010, and Toray is scheduled to supply the membranes in two batches in 2008 and 2009. The construction of the plant is part of Singapore government's NEWater project and is the last and biggest plant under the project.
The plant is called Changi NEWater plant and will be constructed near the International Airport in the eastern region of Singapore. SembCorp Utilities, the public works division of SembCorp Industries, a major corporate group in Singapore, won the contract to construct the plant. The water recycled and processed at the plant will be returned to reservoirs and reused as industrial water as well as drinking water.
Generally, rivers, lakes and reservoir dams are the sources for water in many countries, but Singapore is a small, industrialized country, having a population of 4.3 million in an area roughly the size of Tokyo's 23 wards, with limited water sources despite the heavy rainfall it receives in the tropical rainforest climate. Singapore therefore relies on import from neighboring Malaysia for most of its water requirements and the country has been placing emphasis on securing water as a national policy. And, this led them to look at wastewater, industrial wastewater and seawater as new sources of water. Since 2002, Singapore's Public Utilities Board (hereinafter referred to as "PUB") has been pursuing a project named NEWater employing recycling technologies for reusing wastewater as industrial water and building recycling facilities for supplying the water to reservoirs. Toray supplied its low-fouling reverse osmosis membrane element in June 2003 to the high-grade water recycling plant in Seletar region of Singapore, which has a capacity to produce 24,000 cubic meter of water per day.
The desalination plant (production capacity: 136,000 cubic meters per day) in the Tuas region of Singapore, the largest reverse osmosis membrane-based desalination plant in Asia, which started operations in 2005, also uses Toray's desalination RO membrane element. Together with the order announced this time, Toray will have a 60% share of the RO membrane elements in use in Singapore.
Wastewater recycling, using membrane technology, holds promise even on a global scale, as it occupies less space than regular wastewater treatment plants, and can be used in urban areas where the wastewater is generated and is relatively cheap. Toray's "low-fouling reverse osmosis membrane element" has been adopted in this plant for its proven track record around the world. Currently, Toray's "low-fouling reverse osmosis membrane" has also been adopted in the world's largest membrane-based urban sewage reuse plant in Sulaibiya, Kuwait (with a capacity of producing 320,000 cubic meters of water per day), which means that its membrane is being used in the two biggest wastewater recycling plants in the world. In addition to these, Toray's "low-fouling reverse osmosis membrane" has been steadily extending its reach in this field, as it has been adopted by plants including the wastewater reuse plant at Tianjin Economic and Technology Development Area in Tianjin, China (30,000 cubic meters per day) and the Luggage Point Advanced Water Treatment Plant in Queensland, Australia, (66,000 cubic meters per day) from last December.
The reverse osmosis membrane market is expanding at an annual rate in excess of 10%, fueled by the intensifying worldwide water shortage and the need to preserve water resources from an environmental perspective. The market is expected to grow further, primarily in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and North Africa and China.
As part of its efforts to respond to these strong demands, Toray invested approximately 7 billion yen to expand its capacity at the reverse osmosis element production facilities at Ehime Plant in Japan and Toray Membrane USA Inc. in the U.S. in April 2007. In addition, the new line of membrane production facility at its Ehime Plant began production in November 2007, doubling its capacity.
Toray is committed to continue with active efforts to increase the number of orders in the Middle East and elsewhere including the Mediterranean region, China and Pacific Rim (Oceania), thereby contributing to the efforts to tackle water shortage around the world.