SINGAPORE – The commercialisation of advanced membrane technologies, in particular, aquaporin-based biomimetic membranes, looks to be accelerating in Singapore.
Engineering company Hyflux has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU Singapore) Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI).
Aquaporins are naturally-occurring proteins which transport water through channels in the membranes of biological cells.
Biomimetic membranes leverage on these hydrophilic proteins to increase the energy efficiency of water treatment processes.
Singapore’s national water agency, PUB, has identified this as an emerging membrane technology that can significantly increase the energy-efficiency of desalination.
Danish company Aquaporin is also exploring the commercial potential of using aquaporin water channels to filtrate water.
The company has concentrated its R&D work into optimising the efficiency of the technology, as well as developing suitable membranes for reverse osmosis and forward osmosis applications.
As reported by WWi, Aquaporin was setting up full scale production ready for a launch of the technology (read article).
The Singapore announcement follows a S$30 million investment from Hyflux in an automated steel structure fabrication processing line at its Tuas manufacturing plan.
According to Hyflux, the investment in robotics and automation will enhance operational productivity by about 25% improve the skill profile of its employees and “reduce reliance on foreign labour”.